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Olga Lukashova-Sanz, Siegfried Wahl, Katharina Rifai; Time for a change: time-dependent impact of progress indicators on performance in a challenging task-interleaving scenario. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):662. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.662.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Task interleaving becomes particularly challenging when it requires accurate time estimation, which can result in a sub-optimal task-interleaving strategy. In the current study, we focus on the role of time-indicating visual information in its impact on task performance. To do so, visual stimuli indicating process progress were applied in a dual task-interleaving scenario with the unequal importance of each task. Implicit visual task progress indicators were provided with varying time-lead before an optimal task-switch moment in time. During the experiment, each participant interleaved two tasks with the ultimate goal to maximize the total score over each sixty-seconds trial. The relative importance of tasks was set through an asymmetric penalty function expressed by a score. The task-interleaving scenario was implemented in an interactive dynamic virtual environment. The mean visit time in the lower-penalty task, as well as the total performance over each trial, were compared among implicit progress indicators of varying time-leads. A significant effect of stimulus time-lead was found on the mean duration of the visit of the lower-penalty task, as well as on the total score. Therefore, subjects optimize a task-interleaving strategy by exploiting additional temporal information in an asymmetric-penalty task-interleaving scenario. Furthermore, exploitation efficiency is time-lead dependent. Thus, the current study serves as a tool for evaluation of the time-dependent properties of information processing for task-optimization in behavioral scenarios.
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