ERIC Number: EJ1067695
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Flexible Conflict Management: Conflict Avoidance and Conflict Adjustment in Reactive Cognitive Control
Dignath, David; Kiesel, Andrea; Eder, Andreas B.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v41 n4 p975-988 Jul 2015
Conflict processing is assumed to serve two crucial, yet distinct functions: Regarding task performance, control is adjusted to overcome the conflict. Regarding task choice, control is harnessed to bias decision making away from the source of conflict. Despite recent theoretical progress, until now two lines of research addressed these conflict-management strategies independently of each other. In this research, we used a voluntary task-switching paradigm in combination with response interference tasks to study both strategies in concert. In Experiment 1, participants chose between two univalent tasks on each trial. Switch rates increased following conflict trials, indicating avoidance of conflict. Furthermore, congruency effects in reaction times and error rates were reduced following conflict trials, demonstrating conflict adjustment. In Experiment 2, we used bivalent instead of univalent stimuli. Conflict adjustment in task performance was unaffected by this manipulation, but conflict avoidance was not observed. Instead, task switches were reduced after conflict trials. In Experiment 3, we used tasks comprising univalent or bivalent stimuli. Only tasks with univalent revealed conflict avoidance, whereas conflict adjustment was found for all tasks. On the basis of established theories of cognitive control, an integrative process model is described that can account for flexible conflict management.
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Conflict, Adjustment (to Environment), Reaction Time, Accuracy, Stimuli, Interference (Learning), Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A