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Jul 3, 2019

XVI European Congress of Psychology

Fatigue effects on task swithcing

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Task switching

Mental fatigue

Switch cost

Abstract

Abstract

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Keywords

Task switching

Mental fatigue

Switch cost

Abstract

Introduction Modern life’s work is a subject to a lot of interruptions and multitasking has become a major competence for lots of different working areas. Therefore research of task switching coast is of great importance which is reflected in the amount of publications. But one topic is not covered enough yet. Therefore a research in order to bring empirical evidence of negative effects of mental fatigue on task-switching was conducted. Method An undergraduate sample of 55 participants (33 female) with a mean age of 21.9 (SD = 2.5) took part in a letter-digit switching task. The task was either to make judgment about a parity of digits or to decide whether a letter was a vowel or a consonant. The task alternation was randomized. Experimental stimuli consisted of two characters (a letter and a digit) whose location inside a pair was randomized a well. The target character was set with a cue precedent to a pair presentation. Mental fatigue was assessed with questionnaires. Results Both reaction time and response accuracy were significantly affected with fatigue severity (F(1, 54) = 11.528, p < 0.001 and F(1, 54) = 12.128, p < 0.001 respectively) as well as the switching factor (F(1, 54) = 145.99, p << 0.001 and F(1, 54) = 12.082, p < 0.001 respectively). Both of factors were worsening the respondent’s performance. But only for reaction time did they show significant interaction between each other (F(1, 54) =6.908, p = 0.009) which, surprisingly, increased the reaction time for less fatigued participants. Conclusion It was shown that fatigue not only causes severe loss in general cognitive performance but also significantly reduces task-switching effectiveness when it comes to reaction time measurements. Considering the general fall of accuracy in fatigued group, this strange interaction pattern can be interpreted that heavily fatigued participants do not analyze the stimuli thoroughly enough, compared to unfatigued ones, which leads to greater error rate in all trials. This shows that mental fatigue has a great negative effect on cognitive control functions.

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© Copyright 2019 Morressier GmbH.
All rights reserved.