The trickle-down effect of predictability: Secondary task performance benefits from predictability in the primary task

Magdalena Król , Michał Król


Predictions optimize processing by reducing attentional resources allocation to expected or predictable sensory data. Our study demonstrates that these saved processing resources can be then used on concurrent stimuli, and in consequence improve their processing and encoding. We illustrate this “trickle-down” effect with a dual task, where the primary task varied in terms of predictability. The primary task involved detection of a pre-specified symbol that appeared at some point of a short video of a dot moving along a random, semipredictable or predictable trajectory. The concurrent secondary task involved memorization of photographs representing either emotionally neutral or non-neutral (social or threatening) content. Performance in the secondary task was measured by a memory test. We found that participants allocated more attention to unpredictable (random and semi-predictable) stimuli than to predictable stimuli. Additionally, when the stimuli in the primary task were more predictable, participants performed better in the secondary task, as evidenced by higher sensitivity in the memory test. Finally, social or threatening stimuli were allocated more “looking time” and a larger number of saccades than neutral stimuli. This effect was stronger for the threatening stimuli than social stimuli. Thus, predictability of environmental input is used in optimizing the allocation of attentional resources, which trickles-down and benefits the processing of concurrent stimuli.
Author Magdalena Król (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Magdalena Król,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Michał Król
Michał Król,,
Journal seriesPlos One, ISSN 1932-6203, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2017
No12(7): e0180573
Publication size in sheets0.95
ASJC Classification1100 General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; 1300 General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; 2700 General Medicine
Languageen angielski
19. M. Król PLOS ONE journal.pone.0180573.pdf 1.35 MB
Additional file
19a. oświadczenie M. Król PLOS ONE journal.pone.0180573.pdf 487.34 KB
Score (nominal)40
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 1.111; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.766 (2) - 2017=3.352 (5)
Citation count*2 (2021-03-07)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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