'Oops! I can't believe I did that!' Inducing Errors in a Routine Action Sequence
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‘What was I thinking ?!?’ – No matter age, intelligence or social status, we all experience moments like these. Perhaps it is walking into a room and forgetting what you went there to do or maybe failing to add sugar to your coffee due to an interruption. Regardless, even though many of our daily activities are accomplished through routines that require very little conscious effort, errors of attention or slips of action do occur. This collection of studies was designed with three main questions in mind: 1) can action slips be induced in a laboratory-based task (Slip Induction Task; SIT), 2) how well do currently established theories of action slips explain the errors that are induced within the SIT, and 3) what insight can be gained about preventing such errors? The first experiment was developed to replicate previous findings regarding the effectiveness of the SIT, as well as to determine the extent to which SIT performance correlates with other measures of attention failure. The study discussed in Chapter 3 expands on those results by investigating the effects of healthy aging on slip induction and finds that while older adults were better able to avoid action slips, they appear to sacrifice speed for accurate performance. The goal of the subsequent study was to determine whether young adult participants would also enjoy increased accuracy if they completed the task at a slower pace. Finally, the study discussed in Chapter 5 looks at whether changing the goal of the SIT would alter participants’ ability to inhibit unexpected cue information.