Does Low Cognitive Load Lead to Delayed Performance?

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Pratima Singh, S. P. K. Jena


Cognitive load refers to the demands on the individual’s abilities for processing information in any task. The purpose of the present study was twofold- first to investigate how the individual manages different levels of cognitive load and second, to explore how positive and negative distractors have an effect on the individual performance. Thirty five healthy Indian adults were selected from university of Delhi for the experiment. The study examined the effect of three different levels of cognitive load (low, moderate and high) and two types of emotional distractors (positive and negative) on a working memory task. The positive and negative emotional distractors were selected from International Affect Picture System (IAPS). The individual’s performance of working memory task in different cognitive load conditions was measured by a letter search task. A two-way repeated measure ANOVA revealed that increase in the cognitive load leads to decrease in the reaction time taken by the participant to perform the letter search task. Furthermore, the performance was recorded better in the presence of negative distractors.

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