In previous studies of task switching and of the right-left prevalence effect, researchers have used a procedure in which the stimulus on each trial occurs in one of four quadrants, and responses are made by pressing one of two diagonally arranged response keys. Across these studies, discrepant effects of cuing interval have been reported. These discrepancies need clarification because cue-based preparation effects are frequently interpreted as reflecting cognitive control processes. In Experiment 1, we compared performance with display formats used by Meiran (1996; Meiran, Chorev, & Sapir, 2000; small display, cues located at sides of quadrants and displayed until response) to study task switching and by Proctor and colleagues (Proctor, Koch, & Vu, 2006; large display, cues located at center of display and shown until target onset) to study right-left prevalence. We found a decrease in task-switch cost with increasing cuing interval with the Meiran display, but not with the Proctor display, but the right-left prevalence effect was of similar size for the two display formats and was relatively unaffected by cuing interval. To determine the basis of the discrepant task-switch results, we used small and large displays in Experiments 2 and 3, respectively, with cue type and cue offset varied. With the side cues, the task-switch cost decreased in all cases at the longer cuing interval, but with the centered cues, it decreased only when the display size was small. Thus, the effects of cuing interval on switch costs are sensitive to variations of display characteristics, whereas cuing interval and display characteristics have little influence on the right-left prevalence effect, suggesting that prevalence effect is due to processes that are independent from those producing the switch cost.
Proctor, R. W., Koch, I., Vu, K-P. L., & Yamaguchi, M. (2008). Influence of display type and cue format on task-cuing effects: dissociating switch cost and right-left prevalence effects. Memory & Cognition, 36(5), 998-1012. https://doi.org/10.3758/MC.36.5.998