Short-term memory and dual task performanceTwo hypotheses concerning the way in which short-term memory interacts with another task in a dual task situation are considered. It is noted that when two tasks are combined, the activity of controlling and organizing performance on both tasks simultaneously may compete with either task for a resource; this resource may be space in a central mechanism or general processing capacity or it may be some task-specific resource. If a special relationship exists between short-term memory and control, especially if there is an identity relationship between short-term and a central controlling mechanism, then short-term memory performance should show a decrement in a dual task situation. Even if short-term memory does not have any particular identity with a controlling mechanism, but both tasks draw on some common resource or resources, then a tradeoff between the two tasks in allocating resources is possible and could be reflected in performance. The persistent concurrence cost in memory performance in these experiments suggests that short-term memory may have a unique status in the information processing system.
Regan, J. E. (North Carolina, University Greensboro, NC, United States)