Offloading multiple deadlines: Individual differences in multitasking at the behavioral and neural level

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/12/2018
Funding: 3150000 SEK


Although multitasking (MT) is a daily requirement, still little is known about its nature. To this end, I aim to investigate the mechanisms and individual differences of MT in this postdoc project. More specifically, in three studies I plan to test central predictions of the spatiotemporal model—stating that people can offload the temporal demands of MT by drawing on resources of spatial ability. In Study 1, I will examine individual differences in MT in relation to spatial ability, executive functions, and working memory at a latent ability level. I predict that spatial ability will make an independent contribution to MT performance. Study 2 aims to provide causal evidence for the spatiotemporal hypothesis at the behavioral level. In two experiments, I plan to minimize the available amount of spatial processing during MT (spatial interference) or to improve spatial ability (spatial training), and then to examine the predicted effects on MT. In Study 3, I plan to provide causal evidence at the neural level by using transcranial direct current stimulation (tCDS). I plan to apply this promising brain stimulation technique at the Humboldt University (Berlin) to temporarily enhance activities in brain areas associated with spatial ability; I predict to find causal effects on MT performance. Beyond this theoretical value, my postdoc project would make, with the application of tDCS, a key methodological contribution to Swedish research and may have important practical implications.

Last updated on 2017-31-07 at 07:02