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Special Collection

Modelling Binding Biases in Task Switching

Collection launched: 10 Sep 2020

An adaptation of the Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) model is presented for simulating a range of task switching phenomena, such as the switch cost and task-rule congruency effects. The PEP model implements some top-down influences on behaviour, including the storage and retrieval of arbitrary instructions, but it does so in a more clearly specified (i.e., less vague) manner. Importantly, the PEP model explains most of these task switching phenomena in terms of binding confounds, rather than as a primary result of cognitive control over task-sets. That is, recent cooccurrences of cues, stimuli, goals, decisions, or responses produce memory retrieval biases, which incidentally confound key measures from the switching domain (e.g., the switch cost). It is shown how this model has wide explanatory power and how the model partially threatens traditional conceptualizations of task switching phenomena. Five commentaries discuss further potential applications of the model, deeper reflections on cognitive control, and some potential challenges for the novel theoretical account and corresponding model. A final response article addresses the challenges to the PEP model and illustrates some important open questions for future experimental and modelling work on task switching.