Psychological refractory period meaning

Psychological Refractory Period (PRP)

Psychologically speaking, the term "psychological refractory period" refers to the period of time during which the processing of a second stimulus is sluggish due to the processing of the first stimulus. The study used the psychological refractory period, often known as PRP, to determine the significance of task 1 and the size of performance mistake. (PRP). PRP is a common research tool that can be used to identify stimulus differences in dual task performance. Task 1 and Task 2 components are presented in the paradigm first and second, respectively, and are identified by variables called stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) and the processing preference for task 1 respectively. The significant indicator of the failure of PRP conditions is represented with the decreasing SOAs and the respective increasing in Task 2 rate. The research assumes that the processing of Task 2 is not affected by the actions in Task 1. The research review will demonstrate how the error data has been under-presented in the previous studies for RT presentation and analyses.

Background and Introduction

A significant number of researchers involving the error data and the RT statistically showed that there is an inverse relationship between the impairment of Task 1 and the SOA. Therefore, such studies did not adhere to the assumptions that actions of Task 1 are not affected by any bottlenecks and processes of Task 2 in the situation of PRP dual-task performance. Ultimately, this stimulated the call for careful analyses and reporting of PRP researches considering the bottlenecks additions and the theories of independent processing of Task 1.

Methodology Summary

The first step was to search peer-reviewed literature papers in the mental health and behavioral sciences via the indexing and abstracting keywords (PsycINFO) database on 17th May 2013. We used the search term "PRP" that resulted in 291 entries that we excluded the clinical papers, modeling studies, dissertations abstracts, book chapters and non-English articles. The exclusion process eliminated 133 studies that comprise of approximately 306 experiments.

Results Section

Here, we paid attention to articles that presented the Task 1’s error data vs. the RTs in figure, /graphs or tables. The second step involved choosing and reporting the studies that did the inferential analyses (statistical analyses of variance and deviations) on the RTs and the error rate of each task. Thirdly, we embarked on reviewing the studies that focused on decreasing the performance while increasing the SOA. That is, raising both RTs and error rates in Task 1 at the same time.

Out of 306 experiments found in the 133 studies, the numbers and percentages of the variables were fed in tables (1), figures (2), and both tables and figures (3) respectively. Where Task 1 results were recorded in Figure/ Table (1) and the analyses done in (3). The PRP studies in the tables gave a recommended results with 181 (59.2%) against 97 (45.3%) of all the 306 experiments in Task 1 recorded no error data. On the other hand, only ninety two (30.1%) and eight (6.4%) of all trials with error data presented no RTs data. The study qualified the claims of underrepresentation of error data concerning RTs in the dual-task studies.

Discussion and Conflict of Interests

The review noted that the number of researches showed a low comparison of entire PRP analyzed data against the number of task orders done, therefore, should not deny us from concluding that in PRP dual-task performance the decreasing Task 1 RTs decreases the SOA. The result is not consistent with the theories of unaffected Task 1 and bottlenecks. This certifies for the inclusion of bottleneck assumptions in explaining the Task 2 and Task 1 effects. There was no conflict of interest since the study was conducted without financial or commercial relationships.


Front. Psychol., 07 April 2015 |

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