Task intentions and their implementation into actions
Cognitive control processes involved in human multitasking arise, mature, and decline across age. In this study we investigated how age modulates cognitive control at two different levels: the level of task intentions and the level of the implementation of intentions into the corresponding actions. We were particularly interested in specifying maturation of voluntary task choice (intentions) and task switching abilities (their implementations) between adolescence and intermediately old adulthood. The voluntary task-switching paradigm we implemented allowed us to investigate the intentional component (task choice) separately from its implementation (task execution). A tendency to repeat tasks more often than switching between them was most prominent in adolescents. Furthermore, participants generally responded slower after task switches than after task repetitions. This switch cost was similar across tasks in the two younger groups but larger for the shape than the location task in the two older groups. Together, our results demonstrate that both task intentions and their implementation into actions differ across age in quite specific ways.
- Goal-directed actions