A model of cognitive control in task switching is developed in which controlled performance depends on the system maintaining access to a code in episodic memory representing the most recently cued task. The main constraint on access to the current task code is proactive interference from old task codes. This interference and the mechanisms that contend with it reproduce a wide range of behavioral phenomena when simulated, including well-known task-switching effects, such as latency and error switch costs, and effects on which other theories are silent, such as with-run slowing and within-run error increase. The model generalizes across multiple task-switching procedures, suggesting that episodic task codes play an important role in keeping the cognitive system focused under a variety of performance constraints. © 2008 American Psychological Association.
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