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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

December 2013, Vol. 25, No. 12, Pages 2167-2178
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00474)
© 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dynamic Adjustments of Cognitive Control: Oscillatory Correlates of the Conflict Adaptation Effect
Article PDF (1.08 MB)

It is a prominent idea that cognitive control mediates conflict adaptation, in that response conflict in a previous trial triggers control adjustments that reduce conflict in a current trial. In the present EEG study, we investigated the dynamics of cognitive control in a response-priming task by examining the effects of previous trial conflict on intertrial and current trial oscillatory brain activities, both on the electrode and the source level. Behavioral results showed conflict adaptation effects for RTs and response accuracy. Physiological results showed sustained intertrial effects in left parietal theta power, originating in the left inferior parietal cortex, and midcentral beta power, originating in the left and right (pre)motor cortex. Moreover, physiological analysis revealed a current trial conflict adaptation effect in midfrontal theta power, originating in the ACC. Correlational analyses showed that intertrial effects predicted conflict-induced midfrontal theta power in currently incongruent trials. In addition, conflict adaptation effects in midfrontal theta power and RTs were positively related. Together, these findings point to a dynamic cognitive control system that, as a function of previous trial type, up- and down-regulates attention and preparatory motor activities in anticipation of the next trial.