Interruption of the Tower of London task: support for a goal-activation approach

J Exp Psychol Gen. 2006 Feb;135(1):103-15. doi: 10.1037/0096-3445.135.1.103.


Unexpected interruptions introduced during the execution phase of simple Tower of London problems incurred a time cost when the interrupted goal was retrieved, and this cost was exacerbated the longer the goal was suspended. Furthermore, time taken to retrieve goals was greater following a more complex interruption, indicating the processing limitations may be as important as time-based limitations in determining the ease of goal retrieval. Such findings cannot simply be attributed to task-switching costs and are evaluated in relation to current models of goal memory (E. M. Altmann & G. J. Trafton, 2002; J. R. Anderson & S. Douglass, 2001), which provide a useful basis for the investigation and interpretation of interruption effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Games, Experimental*
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall*
  • Problem Solving
  • Reaction Time
  • Retention, Psychology