Examining binding effects on task switch costs and response-repetition effects: Variations of the cue modality and stimulus modality in task switching


Typically, response-repetition effects are obtained in task-switching experiments: In task repetitions, performance is enhanced when the response, too, repeats (response-repetition benefits), whereas in task switches, performance is impaired when the response repeats (response-repetition costs). A previous study introduced cue modality switches in a cued task-switching paradigm with visual stimuli and obtained enhanced response-repetition benefits when the cue modality repeated (Koch, Frings, & Schuch Psychological Research, 82, 570–579, 2018). In the present study, we aimed to replicate this finding with auditory stimuli (Exp. 1), and further examined whether response-repetition effects could be modulated by introducing stimulus modality switches (Exp. 2). We found clear evidence that the cue modality and stimulus modality affect task switch costs. The task switch costs were higher with a repeated cue modality or stimulus modality. However, cue modality switches or stimulus modality switches did not affect the response-repetition effects. We suggest that response-repetition effects are elicited by response-associated bindings, which are not necessarily affected by all episodic task features to the same extent. Our results are also in line with theoretical accounts that assume a hierarchical organization of task selection and response selection.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. 1.

    Following up on Koch, Frings, and Schuch (2018), we employed two cue modalities (high vs. low cue via the auditory vs. visual modality) and two tasks (magnitude vs. parity task) to isolate cue modality switch costs from task switch costs. By employing this setup, a repeated cue modality could be combined with a repeated or switched task (for a discussion, see Koch, Frings, & Schuch, 2018).

  2. 2.

    There are two possibilities to control for stimulus-repetition effects. One possibility is to exclude stimulus repetitions from the data analysis (as was done in the present study). Another possibility is to exclude stimulus repetitions from occurring in the experiment (as was done in the studies by Schuch & Koch, 2004, 2006, 2010). In the latter studies, stimulus category repetitions and switches occurred with a 1:1 ratio, whereas immediate stimulus repetitions were excluded by design.

  3. 3.

    The present results remain robust when z-scores are computed separately for each participant in each condition. Here, outliers were defined by z-transforming the RTs separately for each participant averaged over conditions, to ensure the comparability of our results to those from the preceding study by Koch, Frings, and Schuch (2018).


  1. Altmann, E. M. (2011). Testing probability matching and episodic retrieval accounts of response repetition effects in task switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37, 935–951. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022931

  2. Dehaene, S., Bossini, S., & Giraux, P. (1993). The mental representation of parity and number magnitude. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 122, 371–396. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.122.3.371

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Druey, M. D. (2014). Stimulus-category and response-repetitions effects in task switching: An evaluation of four explanations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 125–146. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033868

  4. Druey, M. D., & Hübner, R. (2008). Response inhibition under task switching: Its strength depends on the amount of task-irrelevant response activation. Psychological Research, 72, 515–527. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-007-0127-1

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Frings, C. (2011). On the decay of distractor-response episodes. Experimental Psychology, 58, 125–131. https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000077

  6. Frings, C., Rothermund, K., & Wentura, D. (2007). Distractor repetitions retrieve previous responses to targets. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 1367–1377. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470210600955645

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Frings, C., Schneider K. K., & Moeller, B. (2014). Auditory distractor processing in sequential selection tasks. Psychological Research, 78, 411–422. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-013-0527-3

  8. Gade, M., Schuch, S., Druey, M. D., & Koch, I. (2014). Inhibitory control in task switching. In J. Grange & G. H. Houghton (Eds.), Task switching and cognitive control (pp. 137–159). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199921959.003.0007

  9. Grzyb, K. R., & Hübner, R. (2012). Response-repetition costs in task switching: How they are modulated by previous-trial response-category activation. Acta Psychologica, 139, 97–103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.10.006

  10. Hommel, B., Müsseler, J., Aschersleben, G., & Prinz, W. (2001). The Theory of Event Coding (TEC): A framework for perception and action planning. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 849–878, disc. 878–937. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X01000103

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  11. Hübner, R., & Druey, M. D. (2006). Response execution, selection, or activation: what is sufficient for response-related repetition effects under task shifting? Psychological Research, 70, 245–261. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-005-0219-8

  12. Jersild, A. T. (1927). Mental set and shift. Archives of Psychology, 14(Whole No. 89), 5–82.

  13. Jost, K., De Baene, W., Koch, I., & Brass, M. (2013). A review of the role of cue processing in task switching. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 221, 5–14. https://doi.org/10.1027/2151-2604/a000125

  14. Kiesel, A., Steinhauser, M., Wendt, M., Falkenstein, M., Jost, K., Philipp, A. M., & Koch, I (2010). Control and interference in task switching—A review. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 849–874. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019842

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Kleinsorge, T. (1999). Response repetition benefits and costs. Acta Psychologica, 103, 295–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0001-6918(99)00047-5

  16. Kleinsorge, T., & Heuer, H. (1999). Hierarchical switching in a multi-dimensional task space. Psychological Research, 62, 300–312. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004260050060

  17. Koch, I., Frings, C., & Schuch, S. (2018). Explaining response-repetition effects in task switching: Evidence from switching cue modality suggests episodic binding and response inhibition. Psychological Research, 82, 570–579. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0847-9

  18. Koch, I., Poljac, E., Müller, H., & Kiesel, A. (2018). Cognitive structure, flexibility, and plasticity in human multitasking—An integrative review of dual-task and task-switching research. Psychological Bulletin, 144, 557–583. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000144

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Koch, I., Schuch, S., Vu, K.-P. L., & Proctor, R. W. (2011). Response-repetition effects in task switching—Dissociating effects of anatomical and spatial response discriminability. Acta Psychologica, 136, 399–404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.01.006

  20. Korb, F. M., Jiang, J., King, J. A., & Egner, T. (2017). Hierarchically organized medial frontal cortex–basal ganglia loops selectively control task- and response-selection. Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 7893–7905. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3289-16.2017

  21. Lukas, S., Philipp, A. M., & Koch, I. (2014). Crossmodal attention switching: Auditory dominance in temporal discrimination tasks. Acta Psychologica, 153, 139–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.10.003

  22. Meiran, N. (2000). Modeling cognitive control in task-switching. Psychological Research, 63, 234–249. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004269900004

  23. Memelink, J., & Hommel, B. (2013). Intentional weighting: a basic principle in cognitive control. Psychological Research, 77, 249–259. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-012-0435-y

  24. Monsell, S. (2003). Task switching. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 134–140. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(03)00028-7

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Peirce, J. W. (2009). Generating stimuli for neuroscience using PsychoPy. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 2, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/neuro.11.010.2008

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  26. Quinlan, P. T. (1999). Sequential effects in auditory choice reaction time tasks. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 6, 297–303. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03212333

  27. Quinlan, P. T., & Hill, N. I. (1999). Sequential effects in rudimentary auditory and visual tasks. Perception & Psychophysics, 61, 375–384. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03206894

  28. Rogers, R. D., & Monsell, S. (1995). Costs of a predictible switch between simple cognitive tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 124, 207–231. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.124.2.207

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Rouder, J. N., Speckman, P. L., Sun, D., Morey, R. D., & Iverson, G. (2009). Bayesian t tests for accepting and rejecting the null hypothesis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16, 225–237. https://doi.org/10.3758/PBR.16.2.225

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Schuch, S., & Koch, I. (2004). The costs of changing the representation of action: Response repetition and response–response compatibility in dual tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 566–582. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.30.3.566

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Schuch, S., & Koch, I. (2006). Task switching and action sequencing. Psychological Research, 70, 526–540. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-005-0014-6

  32. Schuch, S., & Koch, I. (2010). Response-repetition effects in task switching with and without response execution. Acta Psychologica, 135, 302–309. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.07.016

  33. Seibold, J. C., Koch, I., Nolden, S., Proctor, R. W., Vu, K.-P. L., Schuch, S. (2019). Response repetitions in auditory task switching: The influence of spatial response distance and of the response–stimulus interval. Acta Psychologica, 199, 102875. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.102875

  34. Spence, C., & Driver, J. (1997). On measuring selective attention to an expected modality. Perception & Psychophysics, 59, 389–403. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211906

  35. Steinhauser, M., Hübner, R., & Druey, M. D. (2009). Adaptive control of response preparedness in task switching. Neuropsychologia, 47, 1826–1835. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.02.022

  36. Vandierendonck, A., Liefooghe, B., & Verbruggen, F. (2010). Task switching: Interplay of reconfiguration and interference control. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 601–626. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019791

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sven R. M. Kandalowski.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kandalowski, S.R.M., Seibold, J.C., Schuch, S. et al. Examining binding effects on task switch costs and response-repetition effects: Variations of the cue modality and stimulus modality in task switching. Atten Percept Psychophys 82, 1632–1643 (2020). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-019-01931-0

Download citation


  • Response-repetition effects
  • Task switching
  • Cue modality switching
  • Stimulus modality switching
  • Episodic binding