Is there a general task switching ability? Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Participants were tested on two analogous task switching paradigms involving Shape/Size tasks and Vertical/Horizontal tasks, respectively, and three measures of psychometric intelligence, tapping fluid, crystallized and perceptual speed abilities. The paradigms produced similar patterns of group mean reaction times (RTs) and the vast majority of the participants showed switching cost (switch RT minus repeat RT), mixing cost (repeat RT minus single-task RT) and congruency effects. The shared intra-individual variance across paradigms and with psychometric intelligence served as criteria for general ability. Structural equations modeling indicated that switching cost with ample preparation (“residual cost”) and mixing cost met these criteria. However, switching cost with little preparation and congruency effects were predominantly paradigm specific.

publication date

  • January 1, 2007