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Mem Cognit. 2008 Dec;36(8):1470-83. doi: 10.3758/MC.336.8.1470.

Training and transfer effects in task switching.

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  • 1Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA. mereditheminear@gmail.com


Performance on task switching, a paradigm commonly used to measure executive function, has been shown to improve with practice. However, no study has tested whether these benefits are specific to the tasks learned or are transferable to new situations. We report evidence of transferable improvement in a cued, randomly switching paradigm as measured by mixing cost, but we report no consistent improvement for switch cost. Improvement in mixing costs arises from a relative reduction in time to perform both switch and nonswitch trials that immediately follow switch trials, implicating the ability to recover from unexpected switches as the source of improvement. These results add to a growing number of studies demonstrating generalizable improvement with training on executive processing.

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