Dual-tasking with simple linguistic tasks: Evidence for serial processing

Amie Fairs*, Sara Bögels, Antje S. Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In contrast to the large amount of dual-task research investigating the coordination of a linguistic and a non-linguistic task, little research has investigated how two linguistic tasks are coordinated. However, such research would greatly contribute to our understanding of how interlocutors combine speech planning and listening in conversation. In three dual-task experiments we studied how participants coordinated the processing of an auditory stimulus (S1), which was either a syllable or a tone, with selecting a name for a picture (S2). Two SOAs, of 0 ms and 1000 ms, were used. To vary the time required for lexical selection and to determine when lexical selection took place, the pictures were presented with categorically related or unrelated distractor words. In Experiment 1 participants responded overtly to both stimuli. In Experiments 2 and 3, S1 was not responded to overtly, but determined how to respond to S2, by naming the picture or reading the distractor aloud. Experiment 1 yielded additive effects of SOA and distractor type on the picture naming latencies. The presence of semantic interference at both SOAs indicated that lexical selection occurred after response selection for S1. With respect to the coordination of S1 and S2 processing, Experiments 2 and 3 yielded inconclusive results. In all experiments, syllables interfered more with picture naming than tones. This is likely because the syllables activated phonological representations also implicated in picture naming. The theoretical and methodological implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-148
Number of pages18
JournalActa Psychologica
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Dual-task Interference
  • Picture Naming
  • Psychological Refractory period
  • Semantic Interference
  • Task Choice


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