This manuscript reports research carried out as part of Heike Elchlepp's PhD dissertation work under the supervision of the second author, and was supported by a studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council (UK). We thank Stephen Monsell and two anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript.
A brain-potential correlate of task-set conflict
Article first published online: 14 JAN 2013
Copyright © 2013 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 50, Issue 3, pages 314–323, March 2013
How to Cite
Elchlepp, H., Rumball, F. and Lavric, A. (2013), A brain-potential correlate of task-set conflict. Psychophysiology, 50: 314–323. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12015
- Issue published online: 5 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 14 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 9 DEC 2011
- Task switching
Brain-potential correlates of response conflict are well documented, but those of task conflict are not. Task-switching studies have suggested a plausible correlate of task conflict—a poststimulus posterior negativity—however, in such paradigms the negativity may also reflect poststimulus task-set reconfiguration postulated in some models. Here, participants alternated between single-task blocks of classifying letters and digits; hence, no within-block task-set reconfiguration was required. Presenting letters alongside digits slowed responses to the digits and elicited an ERP negativity from ∼350 ms, relative to task-neutral symbols presented alongside digits, consistent with task conflict. The negativity was also present for congruent digit-letter stimuli; this and the lack of behavioral response congruency effects indicate conflict at the level of task-set rather than response selection.