Temporal yoking in continuous multitasking

Yuhong V Jiang, Khena M. Swallow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Scopus citations


    Continuous tasks such as baggage screening often involve selective gating of sensory information when "targets" are detected. Previous research has shown that temporal selection of behaviorally relevant information triggers changes in perception, learning, and memory. However, it is unclear whether temporal selection has broad effects on concurrent tasks. To address this question, we asked participants to view a stream of faces and encoded faces of a particular gender for a later memory test. At the same time, they listened to a sequence of tones, pressing a button for specific pitched tones. We manipulated the timing of temporal selection such that target faces and target tones could be unrelated, perfectly correlated, or anticorrelated. Temporal selection was successful when the temporally coinciding stimuli were congruent (e.g., both were targets), but not when they were incongruent (i.e., only 1 was a target). This pattern suggests that attentional selection for separate tasks is yoked in time-when the attentional gate opens for 1 task it also opens for the other. Temporal yoking is a unique form of dual-task interaction.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2348-2360
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


    • Attention
    • Dual-task processing
    • Target selection
    • Temporal gating


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