Timing and Executive Resources: Dual-task interference patterns between temporal production and shifting, updating, and inhibition tasks

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance


time perception, executive functions, attention, dual-task performance


Three dual-task experiments were designed to assess the contribution of executive cognitive functions to the perception of time. Each experiment combined a serial temporal production timing task with an executive task emphasizing either shifting, updating, or inhibition. The experiments uncovered evidence of bidirectional interference between the concurrent tasks, such that the executive tasks interfered with timing performance and the timing task interfered with executive performance. Each experiment also included 3 dual-task conditions in which subjects allocated attention to the concurrent tasks in specified proportions. The results showed a reciprocal tradeoff in performance on each task: More attention allocated to timing caused timing performance to improve and executive performance to decline, whereas more attention allocated to the executive task produced the opposite pattern. The findings suggest that timing relies on the same processing resources that support basic executive functions.


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