Evidence for a response preparation bottleneck during dual-task performance: Effect of a startling acoustic stimulus on the psychological refractory period

Dana Maslovat, Romeo Chua, Hunter C. Spencer, Christopher J. Forgaard, Anthony N. Carlsen, Ian M. Franks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate the mechanism associated with dual-task interference in a psychological refractory period (PRP) paradigm. We used a simple reaction time paradigm consisting of a vocal response (R1) and key-lift task (R2) with a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between 100. ms and 1500. ms. On selected trials we implemented a startling acoustic stimulus concurrent with the second stimulus to determine if we could involuntarily trigger the second response. Our results indicated that the PRP delay in the second response was present for both control and startle trials at short SOAs, suggesting the second response was not prepared in advance. These results support a response preparation bottleneck and can be explained via a neural activation model of preparation. In addition, we found that the reflexive startle activation was reduced in the dual-task condition for all SOAs, a result we attribute to prepulse inhibition associated with dual-task processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-487
Number of pages7
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume144
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dual-task performance
  • Neural activation
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • Psychological refractory period
  • Response preparation
  • Startle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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