Selection For Action And Conflict Resolution

The antisaccade task involves more than inhibiting the reflexive response toward the abruptly appearing stimulus. The subject must successfully implement another response at the same time the reflex is being inhibited. This second response is less well learned or less natural than the one that must be inhibited. Hence, the competition created by the automatic response is powerful, and resolving the conflict in favor of the less well-learned response is difficult. The antisaccade task is one example of a common method for studying the regulatory processes of cognitive control. This method involves creating a conflict situation in which the subject has to respond to one stimulus or to one aspect of the stimulus and ignore another stimulus or another aspect of the stimulus. In these situations, the subject needs to focus on the target (a stimulus or an aspect of a stimulus) and ignore all the rest of the display. Failures in attention are commonly revealed in two ways: (i) reduction in efficiency of responding to the target when the irrelevant features of the display are present and (ii) indications for processing of the irrelevant material, especially when it clearly interferes with processing of the target. The two most widely used paradigms for studying this type of selection are Stroop color naming and negative priming.

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