Positive affect facilitates task switching in the dimensional change card sort task: Implications for the shifting aspect of executive function

Hwajin YANG, Singapore Management University
Sujin YANG


Using the modified Dimensional Change Card Sort task, we examined the influence of positive affect on task switching by inspecting various markers for the costs, including restart cost, switch cost and mixing cost. Given that the executive-control processes that underlie switching performance - i.e., inhibition or shifting are distinct from the component processes that underlie non-switching performance - i.e., stimulus evaluation, resource allocation or response execution. - we hypothesised that if positive affect facilitates task switching via executive-control processes, rather than via component processes, positive affect would reduce both switch and restart costs, but not mixing cost, because both switch and restart costs rely on executive processes, while mixing cost imposes only minimal demands on executive processes. We found beneficial effects of positive affect on both restart and switch costs, but not on mixing costs. These results suggest that positive affect improves switching abilities via executive processes rather than via component processes.