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The influence of attention on dual-task performances and cortical excitability


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Brown, Felicity Claire 2008 , 'The influence of attention on dual-task performances and cortical excitability', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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In the literature researchers have endeavored to try and explain the phenomena of dualtask
interference. Dual-task interference refers to the finding that when people perform
two tasks simultaneously there is often a decrease in performance compared to when they
perform one task alone (Pashler, 1994). Despite vast amounts of research exploring this,
there has been no unified consensus about why dual-task interference actually occurs.
This literature review first explains the methodology termed the dual-task paradigm that
is common used in research to study these interference effects. Following this the
cognitive explanations for dual-task interference effects, namely the resource model and
bottleneck model are explored. A number of studies are then presented that employed
both cognitive and motor tasks to examine these effects.
Another less common explanation presented in the literature termed the cross-talk model
is then reviewed. Cross-talk according to Navon and Miller (1987) is defined as when
two tasks use separate mechanisms that interfere with each other, rather then share or
compete for resources. This notion of cross-talk can be interpreted from a neural
perspective, thus neural cross-talk can be seen as referring to when an area of the cortex
activated during the performance of one task affects a different area of the cortex
activated during the performance of a second task resulting in interference.
This review then explores a number of studies that used electrophysiological techniques,
such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and position emission tomography that present
findings consistent with the notion of neural cross-talk. Building on this notion of neural
cross-talk research is then presented that suggests that neural cross-talk may play an
important role in behaviour. The final part of this review explores evidence to suggest
that neural cross-talk is modifiable.
Overall, the literature presented in this review highlights the fact that further research into
the cause of dual-task interference is warranted. The evidence also suggests that neuralcross
talk may play an important role in this interference; thus neural cross-talk should be
explored in greater depth in future research examining interference.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Brown, Felicity Claire
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2008 the author

Additional Information:

Available for library use only and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (MPsych (Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2008. Includes bibliographical references

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