Can Practice Overcome Age-Related Differences in the Psychological Refractory Period Effect?
Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Can dual-task practice remove age-related differences in the psychological refractory period (PRP) effect? To answer this question, younger and older individuals practiced 7 blocks of a PRP design, in which Task 1 (T1) required a vocal response to an auditory stimulus and Task 2 (T2) required a manual response to a visual stimulus (Experiment 1). The results showed that practice did not reduce, but rather increased, age-related differences in PRP interference. Using the trained individuals, the introduction of a less complex new T1 (Experiment 2) or a less complex new T2 (Experiment 3) with the task previously practiced reduced the PRP interference but only in older adults. The authors propose that older adults suffer from a large task-switch cost that is more sensitive to task complexity than to the amount of practice.
© 2004 American Psychological Association
Maquestiaux, F., Hartley, A. A., & Bertsch, J. (2004). Can practice overcome age-related differences in the psychological refractory period effect? Psychology and Aging, 19, 649-668. doi: 10.1037/0882-79126.96.36.1999