Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Eric Buckolz


In location-based tasks, responses related to (prime trial) distractor-occupied locations automatically undergo activation, followed by inhibition, which causes these responses to become execution resistant. Distractor-response execution resistance takes time to override, causing detrimental inhibitory after-effects in the form of delayed target reactions that later require this response (e.g., the spatial negative priming phenomenon). We learned here that these puzzling detrimental inhibitory after-effects can also have a ‘beneficial’ influence, whereby the repelling impact of execution resistance reduced the likelihood of its response being used erroneously on the probe trial (i.e., execution resistance provides error protection). Ideally, execution resistance-induced error protection effectiveness, but not execution resistance override time (spatial negative priming), would remain unaltered with extensive practice executing prime-trial distractor response processing; however, both of these inhibitory after-effect characteristics exhibited a basic stability over time. Interestingly, while execution resistance override time is avoidable under some limited task conditions, this prevention seems difficult to achieve overall (including via practice), making the existence of this detrimental execution resistance consequence even more difficult to reconcile.

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