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Four experiments investigated the effect of recent selective practice on the cost of switching between 2 tasks afforded by letter-digit pairs: alphabet arithmetic and shape comparison. Experiments 1 and 2 found a greater cost associated with switching to the more recently practiced task: evidence that task-set inertia contributes to switching costs. Experiment 3 found this effect to be limited to trials on which a recently trained stimulus followed another such stimulus: a result problematic for all current theories of task-set priming. Experiment 4 showed that the effect of recent practice was eliminated by active preparation for a task switch: It appears that endogenous task-set preparation reduces the effects of task-set inertia. ((c) 2003 APA, all rights reserved)

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform

Publication Date





919 - 936


Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Cues, Female, Humans, Male, Mathematics, Mental Processes, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Practice (Psychology), Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Set (Psychology), Task Performance and Analysis, Verbal Learning