Switching between tasks of unequal familiarity: the role of stimulus-attribute and response-set selection.
Yeung N., Monsell S.
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.