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The reaction-time task-rule congruency effect is not affected by working memory load: further support for the activated long-term memory hypothesis

Abstract

Previous studies claimed that task representation is carried out by the activated long-term memory portion of working memory (WM; Meiran and Kessler in J Exp Psychol Human Percept Perform 34:137–157, 2008). The present study provides a more direct support for this hypothesis. We used the reaction-time task-rule congruency effect (RT-TRCE) in a task-switching setup, and tested the effects of loading WM with irrelevant task rules on RT-TRCE. Experiment 1 manipulated WM load in a between-subject design. WM participants performed a color/shape task switching, while having 0, 1 or 3 numerical task rules as WM load. Experiment 2 used a similar load manipulation (1 or 3 rules to load WM) in a within-subject design. Experiment 3 extended these results by loading WM with perceptual tasks that were more similar to the shape/color tasks. The results show that RT-TRCE was not affected by WM load supporting the activated long-term memory hypothesis.

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Fig. 1

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Acknowledgments

The research was supported by a Grant to the second author from the Israel Science Foundation. We thank Shirley Dorchin, Ami Braverman and Iddo Maayan for running Experiments 1 and 2 and Anat Karmon for running Experiment 3.

Author information

Correspondence to Yoav Kessler.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 2.

Table 2 RT and PE means by condition, in Experiments 1–3

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Kessler, Y., Meiran, N. The reaction-time task-rule congruency effect is not affected by working memory load: further support for the activated long-term memory hypothesis. Psychological Research 74, 388–399 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-009-0261-z

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Keywords

  • Work Memory
  • Compatibility Effect
  • Task Switching
  • Work Memory Load
  • Load Task