Date of Award


Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



The speed and flexibility of cognitive control is exemplified by the context-specific proportion congruency (CSPC) effect. Two locations on a computer screen may be biased to present either mostly congruent (MC) stimuli or mostly incongruent (MI) stimuli, necessitating rapid shifts of cognitive control in order to maximize speed and accuracy of responding. The episodic retrieval account has posited that the speed and flexibility of control can be explained by attentional settings being bound with contextual cues (e.g. the location at which a stimulus appears) into an episodic representation—allowing for settings to be retrieved automatically. However, what determines which setting is bound with which location cue has not yet been investigated. The present study posited that relative spatial proximity determines which setting is applied to a given location. In Experiment 1, six locations were arranged to manipulate relative spatial proximity. A biased (e.g., MC) location was placed on the top edge of a screen and a biased (e.g., MI) location was placed at the bottom. At the middle of the screen two MC (above fixation) and two MI (below fixation) locations were placed within close proximity. A CSPC effect was found between outer locations at the edge, while the middle locations were treated as a single 50% congruent location. Experiment 2 separated the middle locations to be closer to the outer locations of their same congruency. A CSPC effect was then found between the middle locations. Results are interpreted within the relative proximity hypothesis that posits multiple locations can influence the formation of an episodic representation when they are placed closer to one another relative to other locations.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Julie Bugg

Committee Members

Richard Abrams, Todd Braver


Permanent URL: