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It has been reported that it is harder to switch to a strong, well-practiced task from a weaker, less-practiced task than vice versa. Three experiments replicated this surprising asymmetry and investigated how it is affected by a reduction in interference between tasks. Experiment 1 progressively delayed the onset of the stimulus attribute associated with the stronger task. Experiments 2 and 3 separated the response sets of the tasks. Both manipulations reduced, without eliminating, interference of the stronger with the weaker task but reversed the asymmetry of switch costs, resulting in a larger cost of switching to the weaker task. The results are interpreted in terms of a model of the interactions between control input, task strength, and task priming.


Journal article


J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform

Publication Date





455 - 469


Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Choice Behavior, Color Perception, Cues, Female, Humans, Inhibition (Psychology), Male, Models, Psychological, Practice (Psychology), Problem Solving, Psychological Theory, Reaction Time, Reading, Set (Psychology), Time Factors, Verbal Behavior, Visual Perception