Assessing the transfer of interruption resumption skill to novel tasks.

Interruption interference refers to significant performance decreases that follow task interruption. Evidence has suggested that practicing interruption resumption reduces interruption interference as measured by the time required to resume the interrupted task. However, evidence has also indicated that interruption practice only improves resumption for the practiced pair of primary and interrupting tasks. If this is true, then there is little applied benefit in interruption training, because the training would be unlikely to transfer beyond the training environment. In the current studies, a transfer paradigm was utilized to determine whether interruption resumption skill practiced within a task-pair transfers to a novel task-pair. The results of Experiments 1A and 1B provide evidence that interruption resumption skill transfers to another primary task when the interrupting task is either held constant or varies. Experiment 2 manipulated the primary tasks to minimize the ability to reconstruct the next step in problem solving. When minimizing reconstruction, resumption skill that transfers is likely the ability to successfully retrieve the next planned action that was suspended when interrupted. The results support the conclusion that resumption skill does transfer and, therefore, opens up additional research avenues with applications to minimizing interruption interference. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)