Simultaneous cognitive operations in working memory after dual-task practice

K Oberauer, R Kliegl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


The authors tested the hypothesis that with adequate practice, people can execute 2 cognitive operations in working memory simultaneously. In Experiment 1, 6 students practiced updating 2 items in working memory through 2 sequences of operations (1 numerical, 1 spatial). In different blocks, imperative stimuli for the 2 sequences of operations were presented either simultaneously or sequentially. Initially, most participants experienced substantial dual-task costs. After 24 sessions of practice, operation latencies for simultaneous presentation were equal to the maximum of times for the 2 operations in the sequential condition, suggesting perfect timesharing. Experiment 2 showed that a reduction of dual-task costs requires practice on the combination of the 2 updating tasks, not just practice on each individual task. Hence, the reduction of dual-task costs cannot be explained by shortening or automatization of individual operations.
Translated title of the contributionSimultaneous cognitive operations in working memory after dual-task practice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689 - 707
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume30 (4)
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Bibliographical note

Publisher: American Psychological Association


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