Task preparation and task inhibition: A comment on Koch, Gade, Schuch, & Philip (2010)


In their recent review article, Koch, Gade, Schuch, & Philipp, (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 1–14, 2010) present compelling evidence for the role of inhibition in task switching, as measured by n-2 repetition costs. They promote the view that inhibition targets response-related processes of task performance rather than cue-based preparatory stages. In support of this distinction, they cite the finding in the literature that n-2 repetition costs are not reduced given longer preparation intervals. In this article, we advocate the analysis of whole reaction time distributions for investigating the influence of task preparation on task inhibition. We present such analyses from two of our published experiments that support the view that n-2 repetition costs can be reduced given sufficient preparation. The results suggest that cue-based processes do contribute to inhibition in task switching.

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 211–216