Studies investigating effect of practice on dual task performance have yielded conflicting findings, thus supporting different theoretical accounts about the organisation of attentional resources when tasks are performed simultaneously. Because practice has been proven to reduce the demand of attention for the trained task, the impact of long-lasting training on one task is an ideal way to better understand the mechanisms underlying dual task decline in performance. Our study compared performance during dual task execution in expert musicians compared to controls with little if any musical experience. Participants performed a music recognition task and a visuo-spatial task separately (single task) or simultaneously (dual task). Both groups showed a significant but similar performance decline during dual tasks. In addition, the two groups showed a similar decline of dual task performance during encoding and retrieval of the musical information, mainly attributed to a decline in sensitivity. Our results suggest that attention during dual tasks is similarly distributed by expert and non-experts. These findings are in line with previous studies showing a lack of sensitivity to difficulty and lack of practice effect during dual tasks, supporting the idea that different tasks may rely on different and not-sharable attentional resources.
Cocchini, Gianna; Filardi, Maria Serena; Crhonkova, Marcela; and Halpern, Andrea R.. "Musical Expertise Has Minimal Impact on Dual Task Performance." Memory (2017) : 677-685.