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Do Task Sets Compete in the Stroop Task and Other Selective Attention Paradigms?

Parris, B. A, Hasshim, N., Ferrand, L. and Augustinova, M., 2023. Do Task Sets Compete in the Stroop Task and Other Selective Attention Paradigms? Journal of Cognition, 6 (1), 23.

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DOI: 10.5334/joc.272


Task sets have been argued to play an important role in cognition, giving rise to the notions of needing to switch between active task sets and to control competing task sets in selective attention tasks. For example, it has been argued that Stroop interference results from two categories of conflict: informational and task (set) conflict. Informational conflict arises from processing the word and is resolved by a late selection mechanism; task conflict arises when two task sets (i.e., word reading and colour identification) compete for activation and can be construed as involving an early selection mechanism. However, recent work has argued that task set control might not be needed to explain all of the switching cost in task switching studies. Here we consider whether task conflict plays a role in selective attention tasks. In particular, we consider whether S-R associations, which lead to informational conflict, are enough on their own to explain findings attributed to task set conflict. We review and critically evaluate both the findings that provided the original impetus for proposing task conflict in selective attention tasks and more recent findings reporting negative facilitation (longer RTs to congruent than to neutral stimuli) - a unique marker of task conflict. We then provide a tentative alternative account of negative facilitation based on poor control over informational conflict and apply it to a number of paradigms including the Colour-Object interference and Affordances tasks. It is argued that invoking competition between task sets in selective attention tasks might not be necessary.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Stroop task; interference; phonological processing; task conflict; task sets
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:38618
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 May 2023 11:31
Last Modified:26 May 2023 11:31


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