Trial And Incongruency Effect

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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 …show more content…
The main effect was consistent with the congruency effect, in that participants responded faster to congruent trials than incongruent trials, which is consistent with the results of previous studies (Gratton et al., 1992; Botvinick et al., 1999). The interaction indicated that conflict adaptation had occurred, in that the difference in response times in current congruent or incongruent trials was indeed smaller when the current trial followed an incongruent trial. This finding was consistent with the results of the Botivinick et al.’s (1999) study where a similar interaction was found, but contradicted the results of the Mayr et al. (2003) study. The presence of conflict adaptation in the absence of exact stimulus repetitions was consistent with the authors’ …show more content…
Finding conflict adaptation after the removal of this confound would strengthen support for the theory that conflict adaptation is the result of adjustments in attention, such as select-for-action or response inhibition. Conversely, if future research finds that conflict adaptation disappears in the absence of contingency learning effects, researchers will need to evaluate the role of learning processes in conflict adaptation. Furthermore, future research should seek to expand Botvinick et al.’s (1999) findings regarding the role of the anterior cingulate cortex in conflict adaptation by attempting to locate the other regions of the brain that contribute to this

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