The affective twitches of task switches: Task switch cues are evaluated as negative

Luc Vermeylen, Senne Braem, Wim Notebaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Task switching refers to the demanding cognitive control process that allows us to flexibly switch between different task contexts. It is a seminal observation that task switching comes with a performance cost (i.e., switch cost), but recent theories suggest that task switching could also carry an affective cost. In two experiments, we investigated the affective evaluation of task switching by having participants perform a task-switching paradigm followed by an affective priming procedure. Crucially, the transition cues of the task-switching paradigm, indicating task alternations or task repetitions, were used as primes in the affective priming procedure to assess their affective connotation. We found that task alternation primes were evaluated as more negative than task repetition primes. These findings show that task switching is affectively tagged, and suggest a potential role for emotion regulation processes in cognitive control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Affective priming
  • Cognitive control
  • Emotion
  • Negative affect
  • Task switching


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