A new publication by Sofia Castro, Marcin Bukowski, Juan Lupiáñez and Zofia Wodniecka is now available: Fast or Accurate? The Change of Goals Modulates the Efficiency of Executive Control Click here for more information!
In the present study, we analyse the influence of goal maintenance and goal change on the efficiency of executive control. Although there is empirical evidence on the impact of goal maintenance and task-switching on executive control, little is known about the consequences of changing between processing goals (e.g., speed or accuracy goals). We assessed the influence of changing between speed and accuracy goals while performing a task-switching procedure that requires social categorization. Experiment 1 included frequent goal changes, whereas Experiment 2 included one goal change across the experimental session. The results showed that both goals influence general performance and flexibility. A comparison between experiments suggested that frequent goal change (Experiment 1) resulted in worse performance and lower flexibility overall, compared to sequential goal change (Experiment 2). Frequent goal change was also associated with increased difficulties in pursuing the accuracy goal. The implications regarding the role of goal maintenance and goal change on executive control are discussed, as well as new research possibilities.