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By Dario D. Salvucci, Niels A. Taatgen

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Extra resources for The Multitasking Mind

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Concurrent Multitasking and Threaded Cognition 43 Our central tenet is that cognition can be characterized in terms of threads that represent independent streams of thought. Each thread is associated with some task goal, such that the thread executes to achieve this desired goal as part of the given task. Simple tasks, like in our example of typing a credit card number, can be thought of in terms of a single thread; complex tasks can be represented as a group of threads that collectively work toward a higher-level goal, with each thread focusing on a unique subcomponent of the larger task.

Chapter 7 expands this account to sequential behavior in two more applied tasks involving simplified air traffic control, and interaction with a flight management system. This chapter also explores the idea of monotasking, and the difficulty of focusing on a single task in a multitasking environment. The final two chapters tie together the many themes in the book, and place them in the larger context of theory and application. Chapter 8 outlines the implications of threaded cognition for interaction design, providing a set of design guidelines and user recommendations grounded in theoretical principles.

Similarly, the architecture would include perceptual resources that acquire information about the external world, and motor resources that perform actions in the world— both with constraints to reflect these systems’ limitations, such as an inability to see details outside the eye’s fovea, or specification of motor movement times from one location to another. Cognitive architectures have been used to model and account for multitasking behavior in a range of task domains. 1 includes a sampling of such models, some of which were explicitly intended to account for multitasking, others of which were intended to model behavior in some complex task and only implicitly accounted for multitasking as part of the work.

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