Evidence for capacity sharing when stopping
This is an open access article under the CC BY license(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Research on multitasking indicates that central processing capacity is limited, resulting in a performance decrement when central processes overlap in time. A notable exception seems to be stopping responses. The main theoretical and computational accounts of stop performance assume that going and stopping do not share processing capacity. This independence assumption has been supported by many behavioral studies and by studies modeling the processes underlying going and stopping. However, almost all previous investigations of capacity sharing between stopping and going have manipulated the difficulty of the go task while keeping the stop task simple. In the present study, we held the difficulty of the go task constant and manipulated the difficulty of the stop task. We report the results of four experiments in which subjects performed a selective stop-change task, which required them to stop and change a go response if a valid signal occurred, but to execute the go response if invalid signals occurred. In the consistent-mapping condition, the valid signal stayed the same throughout the whole experiment; in the varied-mapping condition, the valid signal changed regularly, so the demands on the rule-based system remained high. We found strong dependence between stopping and going, especially in the varied-mapping condition. We propose that in selective stop tasks, the decision to stop or not will share processing capacity with the go task. This idea can account for performance differences between groups, subjects, and conditions. We discuss implications for the wider stop-signal and dual-task literature.
University of Exeter
National Eye Institute
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Vol.142, pp. 81–95
No. R01 EY021833