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Attentional demands of different types of PDA tasks Li, Hiroe

Abstract

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are mobile devices that offer a range of applications and are used in various environments (e.g., finding contact information driving while). These environments and applications vary on the level of attentional demands. The key interests of the present study were to explore the interference that occurs when both the PDA task and environment are highly attention demanding. The main goal of the present study was to investigate the attentional demands of two types of PDA tasks: Navigation and data entry. Using a dual-task methodology, I conducted two experiments that explored the amount of attention (Experiment 1 and 2), and two experiments that investigated the types of attention (Experiment 3 and 4), required by the two PDA task types. For the first two experiments, a tone discrimination task was chosen as the secondary task as it has been shown to require general attentional resources. Participants first completed the tone discrimination task alone in order to assess performance in the baseline condition. In the test phase, participants completed a set of PDA tasks concurrently with a tone discrimination task. To assess the type of attention required by PDA tasks, a method used to reveal the types of attention was first validated in Experiment 3. The validated method was used in Experiment 4. Participants completed a task that either drew on visuo-spatial resources or articulatory/auditory resources concurrently with either a PDA navigation or data entry task. The two main findings of the 4 experiments were: Navigation requires more attention than data entry; data entry requires more articulatory/auditory resources while navigation requires both articulatory/auditory and visuo-spatial resources, but more of the latter.

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