Recently, Smith et al [12] applied the dual-task method to exami

Recently, Smith et al. [12] applied the dual-task method to examine whether or not metacognitive process

can be dissociated from perceptual-level process using monkeys. In the dual-task condition, a metacognitive task was inserted during the retention period of a DMS task or a STM task. The metacognitive task included a sparse-middle-dense discrimination of random dots selleck inhibitor and the ‘uncertain’ response when the monkey was difficult to discriminate. As a result, a dual-task interference effect was observed. In addition, they found that the number of ‘uncertain’ responses dramatically decreased in the dual-task condition, while the performance of the sparse-middle-dense discrimination was not affected. These results indicate that the dual-task method can dissociate a lower level perceptual process from a higher level decisional process, such as metacognition.

Thus, the dual-task paradigm is useful not only for examining the mechanism of interference control but also for examining other higher cognitive functions such check details as metacognition. The load-dependent effect of dual-task interference is an important characteristic of human dual-task performance 20 and 21 and an important phenomenon to examine the mechanism of interference control. Basile and Hampton [11•] showed that this effect was also evident in monkey dual-task performance. In their study, a DMS task was coupled with one of four secondary tasks that required different levels of cognitive demand (Figure 1a): (1) no secondary task, (2) a motor-only task, in which monkeys needed to touch a blue square presented at the screen corner, (3) an image

perception task, in which monkeys needed to touch an unclassifiable complex image, and (4) a classification task, in which monkeys needed to classify an image as a bird, fish, flower, or person. Either four images (small set) or 1400 images (large set) were used as target images in the DMS task. In the small-set condition, due to the frequent Florfenicol appearance of the same images across trials, a target image would be hard to distinguish from distractors based solely on familiarity during the memory test. In contrast, the cognitive effort was less demanding in the large-set condition, since the infrequent appearance of a target image made it easier to distinguish it from distractors based on familiarity. The critical finding was that the addition of the secondary task impaired DMS performance only in the small-set condition in a load-dependent manner (Figure 1b). This result indicates that the short-term maintenance of familiar information requires an active resource-demanding process similar to the human rehearsal process. This result also indicates that the additive effect of the magnitude of DMS performance deficits is strongly similar to the dual-task interference effect in humans.

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