Investigating the Role of Working Memory In Multi-Tasking: The Impact of a Secondary Number Recall Task on Cooking Breakfast in a Virtual Environment
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Floyd, Victoria L.
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This study used dual-task methodology to examine the possible involvement of working memory in the multi-tasking scenario presented in Craik and Bialystok’s (2006) Breakfast Task. Participants were required to set a table and ensure that five different foods were cooked and ready to eat at the same time within a virtual environment presented on a computer screen. The task was completed twice by 30 undergraduate participants: once alone and once with a concurrent Number Recall Task believed to engage the phonological loop component of working memory. Performance in the single- and dual-task condition was compared in order to observe any potential performance trade off between the two tasks. Results showed a general dual-task effect on the Breakfast Task. Taken together with an observed dual-task effect on Number Recall, these data seem to suggest that working memory, namely the phonological loop component, does influence the complex cognitive process of of the process.