Task Switching Essay

814 Words Nov 10th, 2012 4 Pages
Running Head: Time Cost, Task-Switching, Repeating Tasks

Task Switching Cost’s Time

Brooklyn College City University of New York


A replication of Task Switching Monsell 2003 experiment was done, which predicts a time cost when switching tasks. 18 participants had to complete 100 randomized trials, switching between task-repeat and task-switching trials. Reaction Times (RT) were recorded and reflected by experimenters, to determine that there is a time cost involved when switching tasks as opposed to repeating the same task.

Task-Switching Costs Time

Many people take pride in the fact that they can multitask. A study “Task Switching” conducted by Monsell concluded that multitasking, or switching
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When switching between tasks our brain goes between two different programs one for example for counting and one for reading, therefore costing us time to switch between these two tasks. In this experiment we tried to replicate the Monsell 2003 Task Switching experiment. 18 Participants took a brief task-switching test via program Revolution Maker©. Each trial was randomly assigned. The participants were presented with numbers one through nine and on each trial had to react to the number, to identify either its odd or even or if the magnitude was either less than 5 or more than 5. We hypothesis that when individuals are engaged in a cognitive task there is a time cost that occurs when asked to switch between tasks as opposed to repeating tasks.



18 undergraduate students from Brooklyn College participated in this study.


A task switching experiment designed on the computer program Revolution Maker©

Participants were led to an isolated lab room were they participated in a task-switching experiment. They were involved in 2 tasks a magnitude test and an odd even task. There was 100 randomly assigned trials 50% task-switch and 50% task-repeat that were completed by the participants. There were different type keys presented to the participants such as: z for an odd number, x for an even number, m for a number (>) than 5,
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