Practice, stimulus-specific effects and individual differences in task switching

Gul, Amara (2012). Practice, stimulus-specific effects and individual differences in task switching. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis points to the important roles of learning, individual differences in emotional intelligence (EI) and general intelligence (IQ), and culture (British vs. South Asian), on task switching. Participants switched between word identities and colour and between different face dimensions (emotion, gender and occupation). In general switch costs were reduced as participants practiced. Most interestingly, Stroop interference across blocks of trials was stronger for stimuli that form integrated representations, providing evidence that learned bindings between word forms and colours influence Stroop effects. In a separate study, people with high IQ were generally better able to task-switch while EI had a selective effect depending on the task. Individuals with high EI had low switch costs when emotion classification was involved, but not when switches were made between gender and occupation decisions. In a third set of studies, culture was found to affect the speed of face categorization, which may reflect cultural biases to emotion (in the White British population) and unfamiliarity in using facial cues to gender in South Asian participants. Finally, there was also evidence of implicit coding of facial emotion and gender - but not occupation. The implications for understanding task switching were reviewed in a final chapter.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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