Strategic predictors of performance in a divided attention task

Róbert Adrian Rill, Kinga Bettina Faragó, András Lőrincz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we investigate the strategies of subjects in a complex divided attention task. We conducted a series of experiments with ten participants and evaluated their performance. After an extensive analysis, we identified four strategic measures that justify the achievement of the participants, by highlighting the individual differences and predicting performance in a regression analysis using generalized estimating equations. Selecting the more urgent task and user action between multiple simultaneous possibilities form two of the strategic decisions, respectively. The third one refers to choosing a response within the same task when the opportunity is present. The fourth and most important measure of strategy involves thinking ahead and executing an action before a situation would become critical. This latter one has the effect of reducing later cognitive load or timing constraints and it is shown to explain almost as much variance in performance as the other three, more straightforward predictors together. In addition to determining these strategic predictors, we also show how manipulating task difficulty induces a shift in strategy, thus impairing human performance in the rehearsed task. The results of this study indicate that considerable differences in the divided attention ability of normal subjects can be identified early and with simple measurements. The importance of describing and analyzing strategies is also emphasized, which can substantially influence performance in complex tasks and May serve training needs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0195131
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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