Task Versus Component Consistency in the Development of Automatic Processing: A Psychophysiological Assessment

Arthur F. Kramer, David L. Strayer, Jean Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A study was conducted to examine the role of consistency in the development of automatic processing. Subjects performed a memory search task in which consistent and inconsistent attending and responding were factorially combined. The task was performed with memory set sizes of two and four items. Results indicated that automaticity developed with consistent attending regardless of whether responding was consistent or inconsistent. However, measures of reaction time, P300 latency, and P300 amplitude revealed costs for inconsistent responding that were attributed to both stimulus evaluation and response related processes. The results suggest that total task consistency is not necessary for the development of automatic processing. Instead, it appears that automaticity can develop for consistent task components even when stimulus‐response consistency is not maintained across the entire task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-437
Number of pages13
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1991

Keywords

  • Automatic processing
  • Memory search
  • P300
  • Reaction time
  • Stimulus and response related processes
  • Task consistency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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