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School Seminar Series

School Seminar Series
Friday, 9th May 2008

DATE: Friday 9 May 2008
LOCATION: Room 302, 3-4pm followed by the usual

TITLE: WhatÂ’s next?: Resource scheduling in sequence execution

Theories of cognitive processing are generally based on results from well-controlled laboratory studies using what I refer to as the discrete-trial paradigm. In the discrete-trial paradigm, a stimulus array is presented and speeded response is made. Each stimulus-response episode is followed by another such episode after a break of a second or so until the experiment has concluded, or the participant can no longer tolerate it. Response times are often under a second, very rarely in excess of 1.5 seconds. Yet, in daily life, tasks are commonly accomplished by a sequence of actions, often well practiced, that take upwards of 3 seconds to complete. These sequences are composed of overt actions, such as eye movements and manual or body movements, coordinated with each other and with the covert underlying perceptual and cognitive operations required to perform each individual component task. My colleagues and I have been investigating whether it is possible to derive a set of composition rules that would allow performance predictions for such sequences from a characterization of the mental operations for a single stimulus-response pair. Success would have both practical and theoretical value. A set of rules for such a composition must incorporate not only a model of the component tasks, but also emergent properties of sequences, which are not a consequence of the cognitive processing of an individual task. Here I will describe our work on two such emergent phenomena: 1) the elevated response time to the first item of a sequence, and 2) how eye movements are scheduled with respect to underlying task operations. Our results suggest that performance in executing a sequence is strongly influenced by strategic choices participants make. I will end by speculating on why the dominant strategies may

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Created: Wednesday, 30th April 2008 by windowl
Modified: Thursday, 18th February 2010 by admin
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