Resource Allocation Strategies in Multitasking after Switch in Task Priorities
Authors: Nadine Matton, Pierre Paubel, Julien Cegarra, Eric Raufaste
Abstract: People often have to manage multiple tasks simultaneously or, more precisely, concurrently. In such situations, one has to allocate efficiently ones resources in order to attend to each subtask in a relevant order and proportion. Moreover, such resource repartition is usually not rigid. Indeed, people should ideally adapt their resource allocation flexibly to each particular context. For example, a pilot has to adapt his resource allocation strategy among the different cockpit instruments depending on the flight phase (e.g., take-off, cruise or landing). The present paper investigated the adaptation of resource allocation strategies to changing priorities. More precisely, 20 participants took the priority management test of the current ENAC pilot selection process with an eye tracking technology. In this test, four subtasks have to be performed concurrently with two conditions of assigned priorities: equal-priority and differential-priority (with two “low-priority” and two “high-priority subtasks). Results highlighted large individual differences of performance in the differential priority stage that could be related to a strategy of abandoning specifically one low-priority subtask. So, designating one subtask as being less important involves the risk that people neglect it completely, especially for those who have the most difficulties in multitasking.
Keywords: Multitasking, Priority management, Flexibility, Eye tracking, Resource allocation
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