Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 814–818 | Cite as

On-the-fly adaptation of selectivity in the flanker task

  • Carola Lehle
  • Ronald Hübner
Brief Reports


The processing selectivity in the flanker task has been shown to depend on the ratio of congruent trials to incongruent trials in a task (Gratton, Coles, & Donchin, 1992). If congruent trials are more frequent than incongruent ones, the flankers are more attended and, consequently, the flanker congruency effect is increased. Recent results suggest that participants can even allocate attention on the fly to the flankers—that is, in a highly flexible way after stimulus onset—depending on the frequency of incongruent trials on a certain stimulus location. Because location plays a unique role in stimulus selection, we investigated in two experiments whether selectivity can also be adjusted on the fly depending on stimulus color. The results demonstrate that color can be used for such an adjustment, but only if the association between color and frequency has been previously learned under blocked conditions


Stroop Task Incongruent Trial Stimulus Location Processing Selectivity Congruent Trial 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 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.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cohen, J. D., Dunbar, K., & McClelland, J. L. (1990). On the control of automatic processes: A parallel distributed processing account of the Stroop effect. Psychological Review, 97, 332–361.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Corballis, P. M., & Gratton, G. (2003). Independent control of processing strategies for different locations in the visual field. Biological Psychology, 64, 191–209.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crump, M. J. C., Gong, Z., & Milliken, B. (2006). The context-specific proportion congruent Stroop effect: Location as a contextual cue. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 316–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eriksen, B. A., & Eriksen, C. W. (1974). Effects of noise letters upon the identification of a target letter in a nonsearch task. Perception & Psychophysics, 16, 143–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eriksen, C. W., & Schultz, D. W. (1979). Information processing in visual search: A continuous flow conception and experimental results. Perception & Psychophysics, 25, 249–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hübner, R., & Lehle, C. (2007). Strategies of flanker coprocessing in single and dual tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 33, 103–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jacoby, L. L., Lindsay, D., & Hessels, S. (2003). Item-specific control of automatic processes: Stroop process dissociations. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 10, 638–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Logan, G. D., Zbrodoff, N. J., & Williamson, J. (1984). Strategies in the color-word Stroop task. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 22, 135–138.Google Scholar
  11. Magen, H., & Cohen, A. (2005). Location specificity in response selection processes for visual stimuli. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12, 541–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Miller, J. (1991). The flanker compatibility effect as a function of visual angle, attentional focus, visual transients, and perceptual load: A search for boundary conditions. Perception & Psychophysics, 49, 270–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Musen, G., & Squire, L. R. (1993). Implicit learning of color-word associations using a Stroop paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 19, 789–798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Paquet, L., & Craig, G. L. (1997). Evidence for selective target processing with a low perceptual load flankers task. Memory & Cognition, 25, 182–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Stürmer, B., Leuthold, H., Soetens, E., Schröter, H., & Sommer, W. (2002). Control over location-based response activation in the Simon task: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 28, 1345–1363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Tsal, Y., & Lavie, N. (1993). Location dominance in attending to color and shape. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 19, 131–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Tzelgov, J., Henik, A., & Berger, J. (1992). Controlling Stroop effects by manipulating expectations for color words. Memory & Cognition, 20, 727–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ullsperger, M., Bylsma, L. M., & Botvinick, M. M. (2005). The conflict adaptation effect: It’s not just priming. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 5, 467–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wendt, M., Kluwe, R. H., & Vietze, I. (2008). Location-specific versus hemisphere-specific adaptation of processing selectivity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 135–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fachbereich PsychologieUniversität KonstanzKonstanzGermany

Personalised recommendations