Auditory Versus Visual Stimulus Effects on Cognitive Performance During the N-back Task

AbstractThe n-back task is one of the most popular methods for studying working memory, and it is tested with either auditory or visual stimuli. Previous research comparing stimulus modalities has demonstrated that auditory and visual tasks often elicit differential responding and, potentially, different underlying cognitive processes. In this study, performance accuracy and response time were measured during an n-back task that varied in terms of stimulus modality and difficulty. Findings demonstrate that participants respond faster but less accurately during a visual as compared to an auditory condition where participants are more accurate but slower to respond. These results are discussed in terms of dual coding and feature binding. Implications for the presentation of n-back tasks in studies of working memory are discussed.

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