Description: The performance of multiple tasks at the same time is quite a remarkable feat for the mind to accomplish, and something that researchers have had an interest in studying for quite some time. This book presents a novel theory called "threaded cognition," which has its roots in the field of cognitive science. How the mind is able to perform multiple tasks at once is explored and the cognitive mechanisms responsible for multitasking behavior are revealed in this groundbreaking book.
Purpose: The authors state that the purpose of this book is to describe threaded cognition, its theoretical foundations, and its applications to empirical phenomena. Another, more subtle purpose is that the authors want to relate their new theory both to existing research and to day-to-day issues and questions of how and why we are able to multitask.
Audience: The book is written for a scholarly, scientific audience and is most suited for researchers and students in the areas of cognitive psychology, computer science, human factors and ergonomics, and artificial intelligence, as well as designers and users of interactive systems. It also is well suited for graduate coursework in clinical psychology and related fields.
Features: Advanced by two luminary scholars, threaded cognition theory is based in The Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) cognitive architecture and describes three separate theoretical domains: concurrent multitasking, sequential multitasking, and multitask skill acquisition. Driving a car is an example of concurrent multitasking (lane changing, talking on the phone, watching the other cars, playing the radio, looking at GPS), while sequential multitasking involves stopping one task and starting another. The chapters devoted to multitasking skill acquisition examine the basic mechanisms of skill acquisition and how multitasking performance improves with practice. Each chapter features charts, graphs, and tables that help explain the concept. Although this book is written for a scientific audience, the material is presented in such a way that an inquisitive layperson would find this book understandable.
Assessment: This book brings a fresh, new theory to the forefront in the field of cognitive science. Threaded cognition is a theory based in rigorous scientific research and decades of professional literature that give solid support to the theory as a new paradigm for understanding the multitasking mind. Timely and relevant, this book gives educators, scholars, researchers and students a foundation to build upon. The authors have compiled a masterpiece of fresh thinking and presented a novel theory of threaded cognition which allows us to rethink the ways in which we understand the workings of the multitasking mind.