Consciousness and control in task switching

Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):10-33 (2002)
Abstract
Participants were required to switch among randomly ordered tasks, and instructional cues were used to indicate which task to execute. In Experiments 1 and 2, the participants indicated their readiness for the task switch before they received the target stimulus; thus, each trial was associated with two primary dependent measures: (1) readiness time and (2) target reaction time. Slow readiness responses and instructions emphasizing high readiness were paradoxically accompanied by slow target reaction time. Moreover, the effect of task switching on readiness time was an order of magnitude smaller then the (objectively estimated) duration required for task preparation (Experiment 3). The results strongly suggest that participants have little conscious awareness of their preparedness and challenge commonly accepted assumptions concerning the role of consciousness in cognitive control.
Keywords *Cognitive Processes  *Consciousness States  *Reaction Time  *Task Analysis
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