The triple task technique for studying writing processes : on which task is attention focused ?

Piolat, A and Kellogg, R T and Farioli, F (2001) The triple task technique for studying writing processes : on which task is attention focused ? [Journal (Paginated)]

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The triple task technique measures the time and cognitive effort devoted to specific writing processes by combining directed retrospection with secondary task reaction time (RT). Writing a text is the primary task and rapidly detecting auditory probes to index cognitive effort is the secondary task. The third task is retrospecting and categorizing the contents of working memory at the time of each probe. The present paper reviews studies on the reactivity and validity of the technique. Further, one recent criticism of the method's validity is tested here: namely, that the primary task for the experimenter is not the primary task for the writer, thus distorting the time and effort measurements. We found that time and effort allocated to planning, translating, executing, evaluating, and revising was the same when the writer was encouraged by instructions to focus either on the speed of responding or the accuracy of retrospection instead of the text itself. Because writing requires sustained thought and attention to produce a cumulative product, it is apparently difficult to make text production anything but the primary task. The triple task technique offers a useful alternative to pause analysis and verbal protocols for investigating the functional features of writing.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:Cognitive Effort, Attention, Writing Processes, Text Production, Triple Task
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:3610
Deposited By: Piolat, Prof. Annie
Deposited On:06 May 2004
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55


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