Goal-oriented actions rely on the suppression of irrelevant, interfering information. Modern work environments often overextend such interference processing: employees are faced with a large amount of information which has to be processed as quickly as possible. In many work environments, information processing is additionally prone to frequent interruptions. Whether it be telephone calls, small talk with colleagues or new tasks assigned on short notice, all these situations require us to abandon our current task, process new information and then resume the original task. These task switches put a strain on information processing and can thus induce errors. The consequences are diminished work performance, an increased risk of accidents and higher stress levels in employees.
Our research is focused on developing realistic experimental paradigms for the systematic examination of disruptions in information processing. As older adults are more susceptible to interference, we work in close cooperation with the networking group Aging.