Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



In tasks such as Stroop, our past experiences with conflict influence our ability to attend to goal-relevant information and ignore irrelevant information. There exists evidence that conflict experiences on at least two timescales affect cognitive control. The “immediate” timescale is evidenced by congruency sequence effects while the “long” timescale is evidenced by list-wide proportion congruence effects. What remains underspecified is whether relatively recent experiences with conflict may also uniquely influence cognitive control and how experiences on different timescales are weighted. The present, pre-registered experiments aimed to assess the role of relatively recent conflict by examining the potential effects of an “intermediate” timescale (i.e., several preceding trials). A novel Stroop paradigm was developed to isolate the effects of the intermediate timescale and cognitive control was measured via frequency- and contingency-unbiased diagnostic items. In Experiment 1 (N = 61), I manipulated the level of conflict experienced in the intermediate timescale for lists matched in proportion congruence. Controlling for conflict experiences in the long and immediate timescales, I found that conflict in the intermediate timescale affected cognitive control. Experiment 2 (N = 60) found that the effect of conflict in the intermediate timescale may depend on that conflict defying the long timescale. These novel findings highlight the need to expand theories of cognitive control to incorporate the intermediate timescale and the interaction of the intermediate timescale with other timescales of cognitive control.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Julie Bugg (Psychological and Brain Sciences)

Committee Members

Dave Balota (Psychological and Brain Sciences), Todd Braver (Psychological and Brain Sciences)


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