The origin of switch costs: Task preparation or task application?

S.A. Los, E. van den Burg

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent studies have shown that switch costs (i.e., slower responding on task-alternation trials than on task-repetition trials) are not observed when on the preceding trial a no-go signal instructed the participant to withhold the response to the target stimulus. This finding suggests that neither task set is inhibited on no-go trials, and that the origin of switch costs is located in the application of the task set to the target stimulus. However, these studies also showed that responding after a no-go trial is substantially slower than after a go trial. This suggests that both task sets are inhibited on no-go trials and that switch costs originate from the preparation of a task set. In two experiments we created conditions that revealed an absence of switch costs in conjunction with relatively fast responding after no-go trials. Together these findings confirm that switch costs originate from the application of the task set. © 2010 The Experimental Psychology Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1895-1915
Number of pages21
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'The origin of switch costs: Task preparation or task application?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this