The present study tested whether people adaptively sharpen attentional focus following performance mistakes, as predicted by current theories of cognitive control. Participants completed a reverse Stroop task in which target stimuli were preceded by an informative spatial cue. Cue validity and Stroop interference effects on performance were robust, but neither effect was altered by commission of an error on the prior trial, as predicted by the adaptive control model. Likewise, a prior error did not enhance cue‐evoked spatial asymmetries in EEG, nor did it enhance validity effects on neural responses evoked by targets. Instead, errors were followed by poorer overall performance and generalized arousal, as measured by generally suppressed EEG alpha power in postresponse and cue‐to‐target intervals following errors compared to correct responses. Results support an alternative theory that post‐error changes in neural activity and performance reflect arousal, orienting, or cognitive bottlenecking rather than adaptive control of attention.
Psychophysiology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ;
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