September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Temporal yoking in continuous multitasking
Author Affiliations
  • Yuhong Jiang
    Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
  • Khena Swallow
    Department of Psychology, Cornell University
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 1235. doi:
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      Yuhong Jiang, Khena Swallow; Temporal yoking in continuous multitasking. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1235. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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We report a unique form of dual-task interference that occurs during continuous multitasking. Continuous tasks such as baggage screening often involve the selective gating of sensory information at the time when "targets" are detected. Previous research has shown that the selection of behaviorally relevant moments in time can enhance perception, learning, and memory. However, it is unclear whether temporal selection for one task can be independent of selection for another concurrent task. To address this question, we asked participants to view a stream of faces and encoded faces of a particular gender for a later memory test (target faces). At the same time, participants listened to a series of tones and pressed a button only for tones of a certain pitch (target tones). We manipulated the timing of target faces and target tones such that temporal selection for the two tasks was unrelated, perfectly correlated, or anticorrelated. Across 3 experiments, temporal selection for both tasks was successful when the tone and face stimuli were either both targets or both nontargets, but not when only one was a target. For example, participants tended to miss target tones that coincided with a nontarget face, or to false alarm on a nontarget tone that coincided with a target face. Similarly, participants were unsuccessful ignoring nontarget faces when they coincided with a target tone rather than a nontarget tone. Attentional selection for separate tasks appears to be yoked in time: When the attentional gate opens for one task it also opens for the other. Temporal yoking is a unique form of dual-task interaction.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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