Interruptions in Computerized Activity: Strategies of Switching between the Main and the Secondary Tasks



The article presents the results of three experiments conducted to study subjects' performance in executing computer-mediated tasks under the conditions of task interruptions and forced taskJswitching. The results of the experiments indicate that an increasing difficulty of periodic interruptions leads to a deep restructuring of the functional state of the subject (computer operator). Two forms of cognitive-behavioral strategies to deal with task-switching are highlighted - reactive and proactive. Reactive strategies are characterized with the instantaneous shift of focus from the main task to an additional one, and are based on unstable interpretations of experimental conditions retrieved from working memory. Proactive strategies are characterized with intensive behavioral and cognitive activity in preparation for the task-switch, and are based on the use of interferenceJresistant mental representations of the main task stored in long-term memory.

General Information

Keywords: interruptions, forces switching, temporal dynamics of switching, computerized activity, eye movements

Journal rubric: Psychology of States

For citation: Blinnikova I.V., Velichkovsky B.B., Kapiza M.S., Leonova A.B. Interruptions in Computerized Activity: Strategies of Switching between the Main and the Secondary Tasks. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2009. Vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 35–51. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Irina V. Blinnikova, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher in the Laboratory of Work Psychology, Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Boris B. Velichkovsky, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Chair of Methodology of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Professor, Chair of General Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

M. S. Kapiza, PhD in Psychology, Senior Research Associate, Laboratory of Psychology of Labor, Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Anna B. Leonova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Psychology of Labor, Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia



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