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Strategic attention and decision control support prospective memory in a complex dual-task environment

Boag, RJ, Strickland, L, Loft, S and Heathcote, A ORCID: 0000-0003-4324-5537 2019 , 'Strategic attention and decision control support prospective memory in a complex dual-task environment' , Cognition, vol. 191 , pp. 1-24 , doi:

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Human performance in complex multiple-task environments depends critically on the interplaybetween cognitive control and cognitive capacity. In this paper we propose a tractablecomputational model of how cognitive control and capacity influence the speed and accuracy ofdecisions made in the event-based prospective memory (PM) paradigm, and in doing so test anew quantitative formulation that measures two distinct components of cognitive capacity (gainand focus) that apply generally to choices among two or more options. Consistent with priorwork, individuals used proactive control (increased ongoing task thresholds under PM load) andreactive control (inhibited ongoing task accumulation rates to PM items) to support PMperformance. Individuals used cognitive gain to increase the amount of resources allocated to theongoing task under time pressure and PM load. However, when demands exceeded the capacitylimit, resources were reallocated (shared) between ongoing task and PM processes. Extending previous work, individuals used cognitive focus to control the quality of processing for theongoing and PM tasks based on the particular demand and payoff structure of the environment(e.g., higher focus for higher priority tasks; lower focus under high time pressure and with PMload). Our model provides the first detailed quantitative understanding of cognitive gain andfocus as they apply to evidence accumulation models, which – along with cognitive controlmechanisms – support decision-making in complex multiple-task environments.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Boag, RJ and Strickland, L and Loft, S and Heathcote, A
Keywords: cognitive control, cognitive capacity, prospective memory, selective attention, multi-tasking, Bayesian evidence accumulation model
Journal or Publication Title: Cognition
Publisher: Elsevier Science Bv
ISSN: 0010-0277
DOI / ID Number:
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Crown Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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