Associatively-mediated stopping: training stimulus-specific inhibitory control
Bowditch, William A.
McLaren, Ian P.L.
Learning and Behavior
Reason for embargo
Response inhibition is often considered to be a deliberate act of cognitive control. However, our and other research suggests that by repeatedly pairing stimuli with an inhibitory response, inhibition can become automatized. Currently, relatively little research has focused on the nature of the associative structure that underpins stimulus-specific inhibitory training. This paper investigated what associations can be learnt in stop-signal training tasks, distinguishing between indirect priming of the stop signal and direct activation of a stop response. We employed a novel paradigm, where colored cues are stochastically paired with a number of stop-signals, and demonstrated that cues consistently paired with stopping reduced commission errors and slowed reaction times. Furthermore, we showed that manipulating the pairings between stimuli and stop signals, in a manner that favored the formation of stimulus-stop associations, produced enhanced stop learning effects on reaction time, but not probability of responding. Our results suggest that perceptual processes supporting signal detection (priming) as well as inhibitory processes are involved in inhibitory control training, and that inhibition training may benefit from reducing the contingency between stimuli and stop-signals.
Economic and Social Research Council
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer Verlag via the DOI in this record.
Published first online: 23 September 2015