Behavioral and electrophysiological investigation of semantic and response conflict in the Stroop task
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By combining the semantic Stroop paradigm (e.g., Klein in American Journal of Psychology 77:576–588, 1964) with a single-letter coloring (SLC) procedure (e.g., Besner et al. in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 4:221–225, 1997), this research investigated whether the frequently reported Stroop-related event-related potential (ERP) effect arising about 400 ms after stimulus onset (Ninc) is sensitive to the semantic and/or the response conflict. Consistent with our past findings (e.g., Augustinova et al. in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 17:827-833, 2010), SLC speeded up reaction times for standard-incongruent items only, indicating that SLC reduced the response conflict that these (but not color-associated and neutral) items involve. Ninc amplitudes were more negative for standard-incongruent and color-associated than for color-neutral items. Importantly, this difference was not modulated by SLC. Hence, the behavioral and ERP results conjointly suggest that the Stroop-related Ninc is sensitive to semantic rather than to response and/or general conflict.
KeywordsSemantic conflict Single-letter coloring Stroop interference Ninc Response conflict
All the authors wish to thank Pierre Chausse for technical support and Derek Besner, Martin Heil, and one anonymous reviewer for their helpful advice, comments, and suggestions on previous drafts of the manuscript.
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