The present study examined the organization of preparatory processes that underlie set switching and, more specifically, switch costs. On each trial, subjects performed one of two perceptual judgment tasks, color or shape discrimination. Subjects also responded with one of two different response sets. The task set and/or the response set switched from one to the other after 2-6 repeated trials. Response set, task set, and double set switches were performed in both blocked and randomized conditions. Subjects performed with short (100-msec) and long (800-msec) preparatory intervals. Task and response set switches had an additive effect on reaction times (RTs) in the blocked condition. Such a pattern of results suggests a serial organization of preparatory processes when the nature of switches is predictable. However, task and response set switches had an underadditive effect on RTs in the random condition when subjects performed with a brief cue-to-target interval. This pattern of results suggests overlapping task and response set preparation. These findings are discussed in terms of strategic control of preparatory processes in set switching.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)