Competitor Rule Priming: Evidence for priming of task rules in task switching
In task-switching experiments, participants switch between task rules, and each task rule describes how responses are mapped to stimulus information. Importantly, task rules do not pertain to any specific response but to all possible responses. This work examined the hypothesis that task rules, as wholes, rather than (just) specific responses are primed by their execution, such that, in the following trial, response conflicts are exacerbated when the competing responses are generated by these recently primed rules, and performance becomes relatively poor. This hypothesis was supported in two task-switching experiments and re-analyses of additional three published experiments, thus indicating Competitor Rule Priming. Importantly, the Competitor Rule-Priming effect was independent of response repetition vs. switch, suggesting that it reflects the priming of the entire task rule rather than the priming (or suppression) of specific responses. Moreover, this effect was obtained regardless of Backward Inhibition, suggesting these effects are unrelated.
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