טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentMichal Inselbuch
SubjectPreparation for Switching Tasks via Dry-Runs
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Gopher Daniel


Abstract

The ability to prepare for task switching within response-stimulus time intervals (RSI) of 1200 ms between the two tasks was studied in 3 experiments.

Former researchers have claimed that beyond 600 ms, there is a residual switching cost that is bottom-up, stimulus dependent, and therefor is not submitted to early preparation. As opposed, Gopher et al (2000) have found that switching cost can still be reduced even within an interval of 1200 ms, by using top-down factors such as early information about the nature of the switch about to take place. They proposed that using the specific structure of the task they used , subjects were able to prepare by actually performing one task, while mentally performing “dry-runs” of the other task, on the same stimuli.

The present study examined the hypothesis concerning the  “dry runs” hypothesis, which might have led to reducing the switching cost even after intervals of 1200 ms. Results show that transition cost of some kind always remains present, in all conditions. This cost, however, is indeed liable to reduction by various factors, including top-down factors (like early full instructions as to the transitions expected in the block) even in the domain of the so-call residual cost component. This preparation process can only happen if all relevant stimuli are present on the display. The subjects could use those stimuli, even if there are no instructions, which acutely refer to using them.

The study discussed the ability to perform dry runs. It also offers an explanation of suppression of tasks and competitive stimuli, and the possible existence of several attention levels monitoring behavior.