Repetition or alternation of context influences sequential congruency effect depending on the presence of contingency

Abstract

The sequential congruency effect (SCE) is defined as the decrease in the congruency effect following incongruent trials compared to congruent trials. The effect of context repetition on the SCE was investigated in four experiments. In all the experiments, dynamic visual white noise was used as the contextual feature, and the number of congruent and incongruent trials was equal. In Experiments 1 and 2, by using eight-value Flanker and Stroop tasks, and excluding stimulus- and response-feature repetitions from the analysis, a SCE was observed in both context repetition and alternation conditions. In Experiment 3, using a two-value Flanker task, all trials consisted of stimulus- and response-feature repetitions, and a SCE was only observed in the context repetition condition. In Experiment 4, we used a four-value Flanker task, which enabled half of the trials to be partial/complete repetitions and the other half to be complete alternations. A SCE was observed in both context repetition and alternation conditions irrespective of the stimulus- and response-feature repetitions. This pattern of results suggested that the effects of context repetition on the SCE are subject to a number of factors including stimulus- and response-feature repetitions and contingency biases. When contingency information exists, the presence of stimulus- and response-feature repetitions was no longer effective in yielding effects of context repetition on the SCE. These findings suggest that the usage of information registered in episodic event representations including stimulus-, response- and contextual-features, control parameters and contingency biases results from interactions of a complex pattern of mechanisms, yet to be further explored.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Notes

  1. 1.

    To our knowledge, Spapé and Hommel (2008) was the only study that investigated effects of context repetition/alternation on the SCE. In their study, the effect size of the critical three-way interaction involving previous congruency, current congruency and context repetition was 0.56. In the G*Power 3 software, we set α and β to 0.01, η 2p to 0.50, and selected the recommended Cohen (1998) method. A priori power analysis showed that 28 participants would achieve 1 − β = 0.99.

  2. 2.

    In Experiments 1 and 2, spoken response latency was measured by a voice key implemented in E-Prime 2.0 software (Psychology Software Tools, Pittsburgh, PA) and response box. Voice keys have a number disadvantages in the detection of the onset of spoken responses (Rastle & Davis, 2002). Coding the speech onset latency offline by hand by visually inspecting the recorded waveform and spectrogram is the most accurate method to detect the onset (ibid.). In Experiment 3 and 4, we used this improved method for response time measurement. We do not think that this methodological difference might explain the differences between Experiment 1 and 2 versus 3, because in Experiment 4, even though we used this improved method, we observed results similar to Experiments 1 and 2.

  3. 3.

    We believe that the marginal significance of this result is not problematic for a couple of reasons. First, it was a replication of the Spapé and Hommel (2008); second, the statistical power of the analysis (0.49) was not low; and finally, the separate analyses of context repetition and context alternation trials confirmed the trend.

  4. 4.

    In order to investigate the observed differences between Experiments 3 and 4 more directly, we compared the SCE in Experiment 3 against the SCE with trials involving stimulus- and response-feature repetitions in Experiment 4. Consequently, we conducted post hoc independent-samples t tests. The results did not reveal a significant difference between the SCE in the context repetition conditions of Experiments 3 and 4, t(39) = -0.64, p = .53. The difference was not also significant for the context alternation conditions, t(39) = 0.37, p = .71. However, we believe that the tests have low statistical power to detect significant differences because of the between subject comparison of the conditions.

  5. 5.

    We are grateful to our anonymous reviewer for pointing out this alternative explanation.

  6. 6.

    For reaction time data in Experiments 1, 2 and 4, we conducted 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 3 ANOVA with block (first half, second half), context repetition (context repetition, context alternation), previous trial congruency (congruent, incongruent), and current trial congruency (congruent, incongruent) as within-subjects factors and Experiment (Experiment 1, 2 and 4) as the between subjects factor. The critical four-way interaction between block, context repetition, previous trial congruency and current trial congruency was not significant, F(1, 70) < 1, p = .38. The critical five-way interaction between block, context repetition, previous trial congruency, current trial congruency and Experiment was also not significant, F(2, 70) = 1.64, p = .20. Separate analyses of the first half and the second half of the experiments did not reveal significant results for the three-way interaction between context repetition, previous trial congruency, and current trial congruency, Fs < 1.

References

  1. Akçay, C., & Hazeltine, E. (2007). Conflict monitoring and feature overlap: Two sources of sequential modulations. Psychonomics Bulletin and Review, 14, 742–748.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Akçay, C., & Hazeltine, E. (2008). Conflict adaptation depends on task structure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 34, 958–973. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.34.4.958.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Atalay, N. B., & Misirlisoy, M. (2014). ISPC effect is not observed when the word comes too late: A time course analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1410. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01410.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Botvinick, M. M., Braver, T. S., Barch, D. M., Carter, C. S., & Cohen, J. D. (2001). Conflict monitoring and cognitive control. Psychological Review, 108, 624–652.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Braem, S., Abrahamse, E. L., Duthoo, W., & Notebaert, W. (2014). What determines the specificity of conflict adaptation? A review, critical analysis, and proposed synthesis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1134. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01134.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. Bugg, J. M. (2014). Conflict-triggered top-down control: default mode, last resort, or no such thing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 567–587.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 2nd edn. Hillsdale, New Jersey: L. Erlbaum Associates.

  8. Colzato, L. S., Raffone, A., & Hommel, B. (2006). What do we learn from binding features? Evidence for multilevel feature integration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32, 705–716.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Crump, M. J., Gong, Z., & Milliken, B. (2006). The context-specific proportion congruent Stroop effect: Location as a contextual cue. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 13, 316–321. doi:10.3758/BF03193850.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Crump, M. J., & Milliken, B. (2009). The flexibility of context-specific control: Evidence for context-driven generalization of item-specific control settings. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 1523–1532. doi:10.1080/17470210902752096.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Crump, M. J. C., Vaquero, J. M. M., & Milliken, B. (2008). Context-specific learning and control: The role of awareness, task-relevance, and relative salience. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 22–36. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2007.01.004.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Duthoo, W., Abrahamse, E., Braem, S., Boehler, C. N., & Notebaert, W. (2014a). The heterogeneous world of congruency sequence effects: An update. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1001. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01001.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  13. Duthoo, W., Abrahamse, E. L., Braem, S., Boehler, C. N., & Notebaert, W. (2014b). The congruency sequence effect 3.0: A critical test of conflict adaptation. PLoS One, 9(10), e110462. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110462.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Duthoo, W., & Notebaert, W. (2012). Conflict adaptation: It is not what you expect. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(10), 1993–2007.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Egner, T. (2007). Congruency sequence effects and cognitive control. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 380–390.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Egner, T. (2014). Creatures of habit (and control): A multi-level learning perspective on the modulation of congruency effects. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1247. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01247.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  17. Eriksen, B. A., & Eriksen, C. W. (1974). Effects of noise letters upon the identification of a target letter in a nonsearch task. Perception and Psychophysics, 16(1), 143–149. doi:10.3758/BF03203267.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A. G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavioral Research Methods, 39, 175–191. doi:10.3758/BF03193146.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Frensch, P. A., Buchner, A., & Lin, J. (1994). Implicit learning of unique and ambiguous serial transitions in the presence and absence of a distractor task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20, 567–584.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Gaschler, R., Frensch, P. A., Cohen, A., & Wenke, D. (2012). Implicit sequence learning based on instructed task set. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38(5), 1389.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Gratton, G., Coles, M. G., & Donchin, E. (1992). Optimizing the use of information: Strategic control of activation of responses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 121, 480–506.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Hommel, B. (1998). Event files: Evidence for automatic integration of stimulus response episodes. Visual Cognition, 5, 183–216.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hommel, B. (2004). Event files: Feature binding in and across perception and action. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 494–500.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Hommel, B. (2005). How much attention does an event file need? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31, 1067–1082.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Hommel, B. (2007). Feature integration across perception and action: Event files affect response choice. Psychological Research, 71, 42–63.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Hommel, B. (2011). The Simon effect as tool and heuristic. Acta Psychologica, 136(2), 189–202.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Hommel, B., & Colzato, L. S. (2004). Visual attention and the temporal dynamics of feature integration. Visual Cognition, 11, 483–521.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Hommel, B., Memelink, J., Zmigrod, S., & Colzato, L. S. (2014). Attentional control of the creation and retrieval of stimulus-response bindings. Psychological Research, 78, 520–538.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Hommel, B., Proctor, R. W., & Vu, K. P. L. (2004). A feature-integration account of sequential effects in the Simon task. Psychological Research, 68, 1–17.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Hutcheon, T. G., & Spieler, D. H. (2014). Contextual influences on the sequential congruency effect. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 21, 155–162. doi:10.3758/s13423-013-0473-5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Jiménez, L., & Méndez, C. (1999). Which attention is needed for implicit sequence learning? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25(1), 236.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Kerns, J. G., Cohen, J. D., MacDonald, A. W., Cho, R. Y., Stenger, V. A., et al. (2004). Anterior cingulate conflict monitoring and adjustments in control. Science, 303, 1023–1026.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Kornblum, S. (1992). Dimensional overlap and dimensional relevance in stimulus-response and stimulus-stimulus compatibility. In G. E. Stelmach & J. Requin (Eds.), Tutorials in motor behavior (Vol. 2, pp. 743–777). Amsterdam: North-Holland.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Kornblum, S., Hasbroucq, T., & Osman, A. (1990). Dimensional overlap: Cognitive basis for stimulus-response compatibility—A model and taxonomy. Psychological Review, 97, 253–270.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Kunde, W., & Wuhr, P. (2006). Sequential modulations of correspondence effects across spatial dimensions and tasks. Memory and Cognition, 34, 356–367. doi:10.3758/BF03193413.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Logan, G. D. (1988). Toward an instance theory of automatization. Psychological Review, 95, 492–527. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.95.4.492.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. MacLeod, C. M. (1991). Half a century of research on the Stroop effect: An integrative review. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 163–203. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.109.2.163.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Matsumoto, K., & Tanaka, K. (2004). Conflict and cognitive control. Science, 303, 969–970. doi:10.1126/science.1094733.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Mayr, U., Awh, E., & Laurey, P. (2003). Conflict adaptation effects in the absence of executive control. Nature Neuroscience, 6, 450–452.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Mordkoff, J. T. (2012). Observation: Three reasons to avoid having half of the trials be congruent in a four-alternative forced-choice experiment on sequential modulation. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 19, 750–757. doi:10.3758/s13423-012-0257-3.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Notebaert, W., & Verguts, T. (2008). Cognitive control acts locally. Cognition, 106, 1071–1080. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2007.04.011.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Rastle, K., & Davis, M. H. (2002). On the complexities of measuring naming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 28(2), 307.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Schmidt, J. R. (2013). Questioning conflict adaptation: Proportion congruent and Gratton effects reconsidered. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 20, 615–630. doi:10.3758/s13423-012-0373-0.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Schmidt, J. R., & Besner, D. (2008). The Stroop effect: Why proportion congruent has nothing to do with congruency and everything to do with contingency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 514–523. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.34.3.514.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2011). Now you see it, now you don’t: Controlling for contingencies and stimulus repetitions eliminates the Gratton effect. Acta Psychologica, 138, 176–186. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.06.002.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Schmidt, J. R., & Weissman, D. H. (2014). Congruency sequence effects without feature integration or contingency learning confounds. PLoS One, 9, e102337. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102337.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  47. Schmidt, J. R., Crump, M. J., Cheesman, J., & Besner, D. (2007). Contingency learning without awareness: evidence for implicit control. Consciousness and Cognition, 16(2), 421–435.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Schmidt J. R., Notebaert, W., & Van Den Bussche, E. (2015). Is conflict adaptation an illusion?Frontiers in Psychology, 6, Article 172.

  49. Spapé, M. M., & Hommel, B. (2008). He said, she said: Episodic retrieval induces conflict adaptation in an auditory Stroop task. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 15, 1117–1121. doi:10.3758/PBR.15.6.1117.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  50. Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643–662. doi:10.1037/h0054651.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Tulek, B., Atalay, N. B., Kanat, F., & Suerdem, M. (2013). Attentional control is partially impaired in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Journal of Sleep Research, 22(4), 422–429. doi:10.1111/jsr.12038.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  52. Verguts, T., & Notebaert, W. (2008). Hebbian learning of cognitive control: Dealing with specific and nonspecific adaptation. Psychological Review, 115, 518–525.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  53. Verguts, T., & Notebaert, W. (2009). Adaptation by binding: A learning account of cognitive control. Trends in Cognitive Science, 13, 252–257.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Wendt, M., Kluwe, R. H., & Peters, A. (2006). Sequential modulations of interference evoked by processing task-irrelevant stimulus features. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32, 644–667. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.32.3.644.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. Wühr, P. (2005). Evidence for gating of direct response activation in the Simon task. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 12, 282–288.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

Nart Bedin Atalay is supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) under Grant Number 113K530. We would like to thank Bilge Yalçındağ, Sena Tekinay, Elçin Çağlar, Mehmetcan Fal, Hande Gültekin and Ayşe Koçhan for their assistance in data collection. Experiments 1 and 2 were presented in the 55th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, November 20–23, 2014, Long Beach, California, USA, and Experiment 1 in the 18. National Congress of Psychology, April 9–13, Bursa, Turkey.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Asli Bahar Inan.

Electronic supplementary material

Appendices

Appendix 1

For reaction time data in Experiment 1, results of omnibus 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA with previous trial context (PContext: noise, clear), current trial context (CContext: noise, clear), previous trial congruency (PCong: congruent, incongruent), and current trial congruency (CCong: congruent, incongruent) as within-subjects factors. Significant results are written in bold.

Effect F MSE p η 2p
PContext 1.13 366.22 .297 0.04
CContext 5.68 611.01 .024 0.17
PCong 1.61 284.42 .216 0.05
CCong 124.74 554.13 <.001 0.82
PContext × CContext 17.11 156.98 <.001 0.38
PContext × PCong 0.30 253.67 .586 0.01
PContext × CCong 1.69 163.26 .205 0.06
CContext × PCong 0.62 310.80 .438 0.02
CContext × CCong 3.24 257.16 .083 0.10
PCong × CCong 7.94 282.05 .009 0.22
PContext × CContext × PCong <0.01 140.61 .961 <0.01
PContext × CContext × CCong 0.09 295.33 .763 <0.01
PContext × PCong × CCong 1.99 207.17 .169 0.07
CContext × PCong × CCong <0.01 209.58 .963 <0.01
PContext × CContext × PCong × CCong 0.52 99.79 .476 0.02

Appendix 2

For reaction time data in Experiment 2, results of omnibus 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA with previous trial context (PContext: noise, clear), current trial context (CContext: noise, clear), previous trial congruency (PCong: congruent, incongruent), and current trial congruency (CCong: congruent, incongruent) as within-subjects factors. Significant results are written in bold.

Effect F MSE p η 2p
PContext 0.08 758.89 .777 <0.01
CContext 1.54 1558.59 .225 0.05
PCong 3.38 1023.19 .076 0.10
CCong 328.48 6070.06 <.001 0.92
PContext × CContext 8.48 652.87 .007 0.23
PContext × PCong 0.17 768.44 .683 0.01
PContext × CCong 0.05 995.21 .823 <0.01
CContext × PCong 4.97 699.76 .034 0.15
CContext × CCong 2.62 566.58 .117 0.08
PCong × CCong 16.77 1148.28 <.001 0.37
PContext × CContext × PCong 0.04 801.36 .844 <0.01
PContext × CContext × CCong 1.85 969.55 .185 0.06
PContext × PCong × CCong 0.13 582.36 .723 <0.01
CContext × PCong × CCong 0.81 657.58 .374 0.03
PContext × CContext × PCong × CCong 0.01 1033.38 .926 <0.01

Appendix 3

For reaction time data in Experiments 1 and 2, results of omnibus 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA with context repetition (CRepeat: context repetition, context alternation), previous trial congruency (PCong: congruent, incongruent), current trial congruency (CCong: congruent, incongruent) as within-subjects factors, and congruency task (Task: Stroop, Flanker) as the between subjects factor. Significant results are written in bold.

Effect F MSE p η 2p
CRepeat 0.68 195.30 .412 0.01
CRepeat × Task 20.59 195.30 <.001 0.27
PCong 4.79 313.98 .033 0.08
PCong × Task 1.31 313.98 .257 0.02
CCong 411.82 1677.33 <.001 0.88
CCong × Task 192.40 1677.33 <.001 0.77
CRepeat × PCong 0.03 233.36 .859 <0.01
CRepeat × PCong × Task 0.06 233.36 .807 <0.01
CRepeat × CCong 0.46 334.12 .501 0.01
CRepeat × CCong × Task 1.62 334.12 .208 0.03
PCong × CCong 26.25 332.95 <.001 0.32
PCong × CCong × Task 6.24 332.95 .015 0.10
CRepeat × PCong × CCong 0.04 243.17 .851 <0.01
CRepeat × PCong × CCong × Task 0.02 243.17 .893 <0.01

Appendix 4

For reaction time data in Experiments 4, results of omnibus 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA with stimulus- and response-feature repetition (FRepeat: S–R feature repetition, S–R feature alternation), context repetition (CRepeat: context repetition, context alternation), previous trial congruency (PCong: congruent, incongruent), current trial congruency (CCong: congruent, incongruent) as within-subjects factors. Significant results are written in bold.

Effect F MSE p η 2p
FRepeat 0.06 129.15 0.805 <0.01
CRepeat 0.11 399.74 0.743 0.01
PCong 0.04 321.31 0.842 0.00
CCong 158.48 765.65 <.001 0.87
FRepeat × Crepeat 0.69 176.73 0.416 0.03
FRepeat × PCong 0.00 275.09 0.997 <0.01
FRepeat × CCong 0.62 206.85 0.438 0.03
CRepeat × PCong 0.70 365.40 0.412 0.03
CRepeat × CCong 0.28 124.92 0.601 0.01
PCong × CCong 14.17 244.52 <.001 0.38
FRepeat × CRepeat × PCong 4.97 200.69 0.036 0.18
FRepeat × CRepeat × CCong 1.13 246.54 0.298 0.05
FRepeat × PCong × CCong 1.80 207.46 0.193 0.07
CRepeat × PCong × CCong 0.15 197.28 0.707 <0.01
FRepeat × CRepeat × PCong × CCong 0.02 198.14 0.883 <0.01

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Atalay, N.B., Inan, A.B. Repetition or alternation of context influences sequential congruency effect depending on the presence of contingency. Psychological Research 81, 490–507 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-016-0751-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Congruency Effect
  • Stroop Task
  • Incongruent Trial
  • Contextual Feature
  • Trial Congruency