Memory & Cognition

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 10–24 | Cite as

Individual differences in secondary task performance

  • Marcy Lansman
  • Earl Hunt


The purpose of this research was to use secondary task performance as a predictor of performance on a difficult primary task. Reaction time (RT) to secondary probes that occurred during the rehearsal period of an easy memory task were used to measure spare capacity associated with the memory task. This measure was then correlated with performance on a harder version of the same memory task. Experiments 1-4 involved a paired associate memory task. Probe RT was sensitive to the difficulty of the paired associate task, and analysis of individual differences showed that probe RT during the easy version of the task was correlated with performance on a harder version of the task. Experiment 4 also utilized a spatial memory task. Probe RT was less sensitive to the demands of the spatial memory task, and in that case, the "easy-to-hard" prediction was not successful.


Primary Task Memory Load Secondary Task Dual Task Dual Task Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcy Lansman
    • 1
  • Earl Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, NI-25University of WashingtonSeattleWashington

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