Context Specificity of Post-Error and Post-Conflict Cognitive Control AdjustmentsReport as inadecuate

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There has been accumulating evidence that cognitive control can be adaptively regulated by monitoring for processing conflict as an index of online control demands. However, it is not yet known whether top-down control mechanisms respond to processing conflict in a manner specific to the operative task context or confer a more generalized benefit. While previous studies have examined the taskset-specificity of conflict adaptation effects, yielding inconsistent results, control-related performance adjustments following errors have been largely overlooked. This gap in the literature underscores recent debate as to whether post-error performance represents a strategic, control-mediated mechanism or a nonstrategic consequence of attentional orienting. In the present study, evidence of generalized control following both high conflict correct trials and errors was explored in a task-switching paradigm. Conflict adaptation effects were not found to generalize across tasksets, despite a shared response set. In contrast, post-error slowing effects were found to extend to the inactive taskset and were predictive of enhanced post-error accuracy. In addition, post-error performance adjustments were found to persist for several trials and across multiple task switches, a finding inconsistent with attentional orienting accounts of post-error slowing. These findings indicate that error-related control adjustments confer a generalized performance benefit and suggest dissociable mechanisms of post-conflict and post-error control.

Author: Sarah E. Forster, Raymond Y. Cho



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