In response to the increased use of personal technologies, such as laptops and cell phones in the classroom, instructors have begun to implement technology bans. The purpose of this essay is to review the evidence in favor of a technology ban, describe recent results which suggest a ban can be harmful to students’ engagement in the course, and to provide recommendations for instructors to aid in the development of a technology policy for their classrooms (http://teachpsych.org/E-xcellence-in-Teaching-Blog/5068179).
According to existing theories of context-driven control, participants unconsciously implement multiple control settings within a single task. In our paper entitled “Properties of Context-driven Control Revealed through the Analysis of Sequential Congruency Effects,” we find that sequential congruency effects (the reduction in the congruency effect following incongruent relative to congruent trials) are present within but not across control settings. In this way, participants are continually updating control settings over the course of an experiment. (link to .pdf)
Context-driven control refers to the finding that participants are able to implement multiple attentional settings within a single task. Elsewhere, attentional settings have been shown to differ along various dimensions including location, font type, and gender. A recent paper published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology by members of the Cognitive Ctrl Lab identifies limits on the generalizability of context-driven control. We argue that context-driven control emerges only when contextual dimensions are sufficiently salient for organizing information within the task.
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