From proactive to retroactive dual-task interference: The important role of Task-2 probability

Mark Nieuwenstein, S. Scholz, Nico Broers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


Dual-task studies on the attentional blink (AB) and psychological refractory period (PRP) effect show that the processing of a first target (T1) obstructs the processing of a shortly following target (T2). Recently, Nieuwenstein and Wyble (2014) found an opposite pattern, such that a memory encoding task suffered pronounced retroactive interference (RI) from a trailing 2-AFC task, with little evidence for proactive interference (PI). Here, we report that the occurrence of PI or RI depends on the probability of T2. Specifically, if T2 is always present, as in studies on the AB and PRP, there is strong PI and little to no RI but if T2 is not always present (as in Nieuwenstein and Wyble), there is strong RI and little PI. We propose that the occurrence of PI or RI reflects the workings of an attentional control mechanism that serves to protect T1 processing against interference from T2.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event55th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society - Long Beach, California, United States
Duration: 20-Nov-201423-Nov-2014


Conference55th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLong Beach, California

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