Strategic modulation of response inhibition in task-switching


Residual activations from previous task performance usually prime the system toward response repetition. However, when the task switches, the repetition of a response (RR) produces longer reaction times and higher error rates. Some researchers assumed that these RR costs reflect strategic inhibition of just executed responses and that this serves for preventing perseveration errors. We investigated whether the basic level of response inhibition is adapted to the overall risk of response perseveration. In a series of 3 experiments, we presented different proportions of stimuli that carry either a high or a low risk of perseveration. Additionally, the discriminability of high- and low-risk stimuli was varied. The results indicate that individuals apply several processing and control strategies, depending on the mixture of stimulus types. When discriminability was high, control was adapted on a trial-by trial basis, which presumably reduces mental effort (Experiment 1). When trial-based strategies were prevented, RR costs for low-risk stimuli varied with the overall proportion of high-risk stimuli (Experiments 2 and 3), indicating an adaptation of the basic level of response inhibition.

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00545

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@inproceedings{Grzyb2013StrategicMO, title={Strategic modulation of response inhibition in task-switching}, author={Kai Robin Grzyb and Ronald H{\"{u}bner}, booktitle={Front. Psychol.}, year={2013} }