Conflict monitoring theory holds that detection of conflicts in information processing by the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) results in processing adaptation that minimizes subsequent conflict. Applying an Eriksen f lanker task with four stimuli mapped onto two responses, we investigated whether such modulation occurs only after response-related or also after stimulus-related conflict, focusing on the N2 component of the event-related potential. Contrasting with previous findings, both stimulus- and response-related conflict elicited enhancement of the N2, suggesting that the ACC is sensitive to conflict at both the stimulus and the response level. However, neither type of conflict resulted in reduced conflict effects on the following trial when stimulus-response (S-R) sequence effects were controlled by excluding identical S-R repetition trials. Identical S-R repetitions were associated with facilitated processing, thus demonstrating that inclusion of these trials in the analysis may mimic results predicted by the conflict adaptation hypothesis.

This content is only available as a PDF.