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Tutorial 3: Cognitive Tasks

What do cognitive tasks involve? A complex interplay of deliberate intentions that are governed by goals (‘endogenous’ control) and the availability, frequency and recency of the alternative tasks afforded by the stimulus and its context (‘exogenous’ influences).
What is task set reconfiguration TSR? A sort of mental ‘gear changing’ – must happen before appropriate task-specific processes can proceed. TSR may well involve inhibition of elements of the prior task-set as well as activation of the required task-set.
How does TSR affect performance? Although subjects attempt TSR before stimulus onset (given the opportunity), they succeed on only a proportion of switch trials. If they succeed they are as ready for the changed task as on a task-repetition trial.
Why is TSR all-or-none? TSR includes an attempt to retrieve either the goal or the task rules from memory; retrieval attempts either succeed or fail.
How could it take longer to reconfigure for the more familiar task? One must apply extra inhibition to the stronger task-set to enable performance of the weaker. This inhibition then carries over to the next trial; overcoming the inhibition prolongs response selection