Strategic adaptation to dual-task in verbal working memory: Potential routes for theory integration

Clement Belletier*, Jason M Doherty, Agnieszka Jaroslawska, Stephen Rhodes, Nelson Cowan, Moshe Naveh-Benjamin, Pierre Barrouillet, Valerie Camos, Robert H Logie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How Working Memory (WM) supports dual task performance is the focus of a longstanding debate. Most previous research on this topic has focused on participant performance data. In three experiments, we investigated whether changes in participant-reported strategies across single and dual task conditions might help resolve this debate by offering new insights that lead to fruitful integration of theories rather than perpetuating debate by attempting to identify which theory best fits the data. Results indicated that AS was associated with reduced reports of the use of Rehearsal and Clustering strategies but to an increase of the reported use of a Visual Strategy. Elaboration and Clustering strategies were reported less for memory under dual task compared with single task. Under both dual task and AS, more participants reported attempting to remember fewer memory items than were presented (Memory Reduction strategy). For arithmetic verification, AS and dual task resulted in a reduction in reports of a Counting strategy, and an increase in reports of a Retrieval strategy for arithmetic knowledge. It is argued that experimenters should not assume that participants perform the same task in the same way under different experimental conditions, and that careful investigation of how participants change their strategies in response to changes in experimental conditions has considerable potential for resolving theoretical challenges. It is argued further that this approach points towards the value of attempting to integrate rather than proliferate theories of WM.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Publication statusAccepted - 23 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Working memory
  • Strategies
  • Adaptation
  • Dual-Tasking
  • Articulatory Suppression

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