Conflict Adaptation : The, Bylsma, And Botvinick Essay

1086 Words Sep 29th, 2016 5 Pages
Introduction Ullsperger, Bylsma, and Botvinick (2005) investigated a phenomenon called conflict adaptation, which refers to the pattern in which the difference in response times between incongruent and congruent trials in a basic flanker task is smaller when the current trial follows an incongruent trial. At the time of their study, there was a debate in the field concerning what drives this effect. A previous study by Botvinick, Nystrom, Fissell, Carter, and Cohen (1999) argued that this effect is driven by the activation of top-down adjustments in attention in response to conflict. However, a subsequent study by Mayr et al. (2003) tested the hypothesis that the observed conflict adaptation in Botvinick et al.’s (1999) study was due to the fact that there was a 50% chance of exact stimulus repetition in congruent-congruent and incongruent-incongruent trials, which may have enhanced the participants’ speeds through response priming. The authors of the current study hypothesized that they would be able to support Botvinick et al.’s (1999) claim that attentional control drives conflict adaptation by finding evidence of conflict adaptation in the absence of response priming or learning confounds, contradicting Mayr et al.’s (2003) findings.
In order to test their hypothesis, Ullsperger et al. (2005) recruited eight college students from the University of Pennsylvania (four females, age: 18-21) and asked them to complete a 9-digit alternative forced choice task. The…

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