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Front Psychol. 2011 Feb 28;2:31. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00031. eCollection 2011.

Succumbing to bottom-up biases on task choice predicts increased switch costs in the voluntary task switching paradigm.

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Bottom-up biases are widely thought to influence task choice in the voluntary task switching paradigm. Definitive support for this hypothesis is lacking, however, because task choice and task performance are usually confounded. We therefore revisited this hypothesis using a paradigm in which task choice and task performance are temporally separated. As predicted, participants tended to choose the task that was primed by bottom-up biases. Moreover, such choices were linked to increased switch costs during subsequent task performance. These findings provide compelling evidence that bottom-up biases influence voluntary task choice. They also suggest that succumbing to such biases reflects a reduction of top-down control that persists to influence upcoming task performance.


bottom-up processing; decision making; task switching; top-down control

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