We examined the role of dual-task interference in working memory using a novel dual two-back task that requires a redundant-target response (i.e., a response that neither the auditory nor the visual stimulus occurred two back versus a response that one or both occurred two back) on every trial. Comparisons with performance on single two-back trials (i.e., with only auditory or only visual stimuli) showed that dual-task demands reduced both speed and accuracy. Our task design enabled a novel application of Townsend and Nozawa’s (Journal of Mathematical Psychology 39: 321–359, 1995) workload capacity measure, which revealed that the decrement in dual two-back performance was mediated by the sharing of a limited amount of processing capacity. Relative to most other single and dual n-back tasks, performance measures for our task were more reliable, due to the use of a small stimulus set that induced a high and constant level of proactive interference. For a version of our dual two-back task that minimized response bias, accuracy was also more strongly correlated with complex span than has been found for most other single and dual n-back tasks.
Coleman, J. R.,
Watson, J. M.,
Houpt, J. W.,
& Strayer, D. L.
(2015). Working Memory’s Workload Capacity. Memory & Cognition.