Proportion congruency effects are the observation that the magnitude of the Stroop effect increases as the proportion of congruent trials in a block increases. Contemporary work shows that proportion effects can be specific to a particular context. For example, in a Simon task in which items appearing above fixation are mostly congruent and items appearing below fixation are mostly incongruent, the Simon effect is larger for the items appearing at the top. There is disagreement as to whether these context-specific effects result from simple associative learning or, instead, a type of conflict-mediated associative learning. Here, we address this question in an ERP study using a Simon task in which the proportion congruency effect was context-specific, manipulating the proportion of congruent trials based on location (upper vs. lower visual field). We found significant behavioral proportion congruency effects that varied with the specific contexts. In addition, we observed that the N2 response of the ERPs to the stimuli was larger in amplitude for the high congruent (high conflict) versus low congruent (low conflict) conditions/contexts. Because the N2 is known to be greater in amplitude also for trials where conflict is high and is believed to be an electrical signal related to conflict detection in the medial frontal cortex, this supports the idea that conflict-mediated associative learning is involved in the proportion congruency effect.

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