, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 467-472

The conflict adaptation effect: It’s not just priming


Analyses of trial sequences in flanker tasks have revealed cognitive adaptation, reflected in a reduced interference effect following incompatible trials (Gratton, Coles, & Donchin, 1992). These effects have been explained on the basis of the response conflict monitoring model of Botvinick, Braver, Barch, Carter, and Cohen (2001), who proposed that preceding response conflict triggers stronger topdown control, leading to performance improvements on subsequent trials of similar context. A recent study (Mayr, Awh, & Laurey, 2003) has challenged this account, suggesting that the behavioral adaptations are confined to trial sequences of exact trial repetitions and can therefore be explained by repetition priming. Here, we present two experiments in which the sequential dependency effect was present even on trial sequences that did not involve stimulus repeats. We discuss the data with respect to the conflict-monitoring and repetition-priming accounts.

The work of M.M.B. was supported in part by National Institute of Mental Health Grant K01 MH 65241-2.