On the economy of the human-processing system

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Abstract

Describes an approach to human performance based on economic concepts. It elaborates on the view that the human system employs utility considerations to decide on allocation of its limited resources. The efficiency of those resources for performing a task depends on parameters characterizing the task and the performer. This approach is used to discuss various models and interpretations for dual-task performance and their predictions, subject to the assumption that there is a single pool of resources. An expansion of this approach is then presented that hinges on the idea that the human-processing system incorporates a number of mechanisms, each having its own capacity. Those capacities can at any moment be allocated among several processes. Empirical evidence relevant to this idea and new interpretations for phenomena of dual-task performance suggested by it are presented. (3½ p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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