Testing the predictions of the central capacity sharing model

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2005 Aug;31(4):790-802. doi: 10.1037/0096-1523.31.4.790.


The divergent predictions of 2 models of dual-task performance are investigated. The central bottleneck and central capacity sharing models argue that a central stage of information processing is capacity limited, whereas stages before and after are capacity free. The models disagree about the nature of this central capacity limitation. The central bottleneck model claims that central processing acts on only 1 task at a time and, therefore, constitutes a bottleneck that processes tasks serially. The central capacity sharing model postulates that the central stage is a limited-capacity parallel processor that divides resources among to-be-performed tasks. As a result of this difference, in the psychological refractory period paradigm, the central capacity sharing model predicts that lengthening Task 2 precentral processing will improve Task 1 performance at short stimulus onset asynchronies, whereas the central bottleneck model does not. Results of 2 experiments confirm the prediction of the central capacity sharing model.

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Data Processing*
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Reaction Time