Effects of execution duration on within-item strategy switching in young and older adults


  • Ardiale Eléonore
  • Lemaire Patrick

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This study aimed at determining whether previously found age-related differences in within-item strategy switching is modulated by duration of engagement in initial strategy execution. In a computational estimation task, young and older adults had to find estimates to arithmetic problems like 37x64 while either rounding down (i.e., 30x60) or rounding up (i.e., 40x70) both operands to the closest decades. Participants were asked to execute a cued strategy for different durations (i.e., 1, 2, or 3 s), before deciding whether the cued strategy was the best strategy and to switch to the best strategy if the cued strategy was not the best. The main findings revealed that (1) young and older adults were able toswitch strategies, especially when they started to execute poorer strategy on a given item; (2) older adults switched strategy less often than young adults, and (3) both young and older participants switched strategy less frequently for long than for short durations. These findings suggest that to be able to switch strategy within item, participants should not be too much engaged in execution of the initially selected strategy, and that duration of engagement in initial strategy execution does not modulate age-related differences in within-item strategy execution.

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