Computational and neural mechanisms of task switching

Jeremy R. Reynolds*, Todd S. Braver, Joshua W. Brown, Stefan Van der Stigchel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Switching between tasks that overlap in perceptual and response characteristics is assumed to rely upon the maintenance of task representations in prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, task-switching studies demonstrate "switch costs," even when there is sufficient time to prepare for a new task. These costs suggest that task-switching performance reflects a complex interplay between priming and the updating and maintenance of task representations. We describe a computational model in which this interaction is made explicit and linked to the dynamics of PFC. Simulation results account for a variety of empirical phenomena and predict a double dissociation in lateral PFC that was subsequently identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1336
Number of pages5
Issue number10-12
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • Behavior
  • Cognitive control
  • Functional imaging
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Task switching


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