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Simultaneous Conditioning

  1. Michael J. Tobia,
  2. John A. Kennard,
  3. Diana S. Woodruff-Pak

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0873

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Tobia, M. J., Kennard, J. A. and Woodruff-Pak, D. S. 2010. Simultaneous Conditioning. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Temple University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In cognitive neuroscience, the dual-task approach is a means to test hypotheses about shared brain substrates of behavioral processes. Simultaneous conditioning uses the dual-task design, with a conditioning task as one of the two tasks performed simultaneously. Concurrent performance of two tasks is more difficult than carrying out either task in isolation and often results in decremented performance of one or both tasks. Theoretical analyses conceptualize the interference effects of dual-task performance as a resource limitation. The central bottleneck theory (Pashler, 1994) and central capacity sharing theory (Tombu & Jolicoeur, 2003) each hypothesize that a common information-processing resource of limited availability is distributed among diverse task demands during dual-task processing. Accordingly, the interference induced by dual-task demands is the result of a secondary task having distracted essential resources away from processing information that is relevant to the primary task. This interference can cause an assortment of performance decrements that include increased processing time and error rates. Neuropsychological theories of executive function and cognitive control postulate the existence of a different resource that aids in resolving interference between the two tasks so as to maintain or enhance performance of the primary task.


  • conditioning;
  • dual task performance;
  • inhibition;
  • learning;
  • simultaneous conditioning