The self in conflict: actors and agency in the mediated sequential Simon task

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Abstract

Executive control refers to the ability to withstand interference in order to achieve task goals. The effect of conflict adaptation describes that after experiencing interference, subsequent conflict effects are weaker. However, changes in the source of conflict have been found to disrupt conflict adaptation. Previous studies indicated that this specificity is determined by the degree to which one source causes episodic retrieval of a previous source. A virtual reality version of the Simon task was employed to investigate whether changes in a visual representation of the self would similarly affect conflict adaptation. Participants engaged in a mediated Simon task via 3D “avatar” models that either mirrored the participants’ movements, or were presented statically. A retrieval cue was implemented as the identity of the avatar: switching it from a male to a female avatar was expected to disrupt the conflict adaptation effect (CAE). The results show that only in static conditions did the CAE depend on the avatar identity, while in dynamic conditions, changes did not cause disruption. We also explored the effect of conflict and adaptation on the degree of movement made with the task-irrelevant hand and replicated the reaction time pattern. The findings add to earlier studies of source-specific conflict adaptation by showing that a visual representation of the self in action can provide a cue that determines episodic retrieval. Furthermore, the novel paradigm is made openly available to the scientific community and is described in its significance for studies of social cognition, cognitive psychology, and human–computer interaction.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number304
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • cognitive control, conflict adaptation, feature integration, mediated interaction, episodic retrieval

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