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Everybody knows situations where activities requiring concentration and high level consciousness can over time become a "background" task.

For example:

  • you read a text aloud but think about other things
  • you drive a car but it just "happens" and you can listen to the news

Question: is it measurable to demonstrate how an activity "goes background" in the brain? What is the current state of research, or at least what are proper neuroscience terms to look for in this context?

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One approach to this is to search for "habituation", "learned task", "concomitant task", "dual task" and "multiple task" studies, which may include cognitive and physical aspects (memory, reaction time and such). "Background tasks" are usually related to computers.

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This would be a combination of couple of things, dependant upon what type of "activity" you are referring to. It can be broken up into two aspects, the physical and the cognitive aspect.

The cognitive aspect is your mind becoming "unconsciously competent" of completion of the activity. There are 4 measureable stages of competence involved in the process of progressing from incompetence to competence in a skill. When your activity becomes a "background" task, you have reached unconscious competence in the task in reference.

The physical aspect has to do with procedural memory, which is a type of implicit memory. Procedural memory is created through procedural learning, or repeating a complex activity over and over again until all of the relevant neural systems work together to unconsciously produce the activity.

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  • $\begingroup$ thx - what are these stages/source to this? $\endgroup$ – J. Doe May 27 at 7:41

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