The Slope of Production Functions An Index of Accumulation Rate Determined by Frequency or Duration of Attentional Shifts

In experiment 1, the slope was 0.08 msec in the low-frequency condition (46% of trials with breaks), which suggests that about 8% of prebreak duration was lost in this condition because of attention sharing. In the high-frequency condition (92% of trials with breaks) the slope is 0.21 msec, suggesting that the loss was more than doubled. In experiment 2, where all trials included a break, the slope (averaged over the cued and uncued conditions) is 0.24 msec. Interestingly, this value is very close to the slope obtained in a similar experiment, where 100% of the trials included a break, 0.26 msec (Fortin and Massé, 2000, experiment 2; see results in Figure 9.2 of this chapter).

In Rousseau et al.'s (1984) experiment 2, where in all trials a tone to be discriminated was presented at different locations during a 2-sec production, the corresponding slope was 0.38 msec. This value was taken as an estimate of (1 -p), the probability of pulse transfer to be in an OFF state. The slope of production functions is interpreted in a comparable way here, as an index of accumulation rate and, consequently, of the loss in accumulation when it operates in a flickering switch mode.

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