Conflict Adaptation in 5-Year-Old Preschool Children: Evidence From Emotional Contexts.
ABSTRACT: This research investigated the individual behavioral and electrophysiological differences during emotional conflict adaptation processes in preschool children. Thirty children (16 girls, mean age 5.44 ± 0.28 years) completed an emotional Flanker task (stimulus-stimulus cognitive control, S-S) and an emotional Simon task (stimulus-response cognitive control, S-R). Behaviorally, the 5-year-old preschool children exhibited reliable congruency sequence effects (CSEs) in the emotional contexts, with faster response times (RTs) and lower error rates in the incongruent trials preceded by an incongruent trial (iI trial) than in the incongruent trials preceded by a congruent trial (cI trial). Regarding electrophysiology, the children demonstrated longer N2 and P3 latencies in the incongruent trials than in the congruent trials during emotional conflict control processes. Importantly, the boys showed a reliable CSE of N2 amplitude when faced with fearful target expression. Moreover, 5-year-old children showed better emotional CSEs in response to happy targets than to fearful targets as demonstrated by the magnitude of CSEs in terms of the RT, error rate, N2 amplitude and P3 latency. In addition, the results demonstrated that 5-year-old children processed S-S emotional conflicts and S-R emotional conflicts differently and performed better on S-S emotional conflicts than on S-R emotional conflicts according to the comparison of the RT-CSE and P3 latency-CSE values. The current study provides insight into how emotionally salient stimuli affect cognitive processes among preschool children.
Project description:The congruency effect in distracter interference (e.g., Stroop) tasks is often reduced after incongruent trials, relative to congruent trials. It has been proposed that this congruency sequence effect (CSE) results from trial-by-trial adjustments of attention, which are triggered by changes in response conflict, expectancy, or negative affect. Hence, a large literature has developed to investigate the source(s) of attention adaptation in distracter interference tasks. Recent work, however, suggests that CSEs may stem from feature integration and/or contingency learning processes that are confounded with congruency sequence in the vast majority of distracter interference tasks. By combining an established method for measuring CSEs in the absence of these learning and memory confounds with a prime-probe task, we observed robust CSEs in two experiments. These findings provide strong evidence of CSEs independent of learning and memory confounds, which might be explainable by trial-by-trial adjustments of attention. They also reveal a highly effective approach for observing CSEs independent of the typical confounds, which will facilitate future studies of how people adapt to distraction.
Project description:In standard attentional control tasks, interference effects are reduced following incongruent trials compared to congruent trials, a phenomenon known as the congruency sequence effect (CSE). Typical explanations of this effect suggest the CSE is due to changes in levels of control across adjacent trials. This interpretation has been questioned by the finding that older adults, individuals with impaired attentional control systems, have been shown to produce larger CSEs in the Stroop task compared with younger adult controls. In 2 experiments, we investigate the generality of this finding by examining how the CSE changes in healthy aging in 3 standard attentional control tasks-Stroop, Simon, and flanker-while controlling for additional confounds that have plagued some of the past literature. In both experiments, older adult participants exhibited a larger CSE in the Stroop task, replicating recent research, but smaller CSEs in both the Simon and flanker paradigms. These results are interpreted as reflecting a pathway priming mechanism in the Stroop task but a control adjustment process in Simon and flanker. Hence, there appears to be different mechanisms underlying the CSE which are engaged based on the type of attentional selection that is required by the task. More generally, these results question the use of the CSE in the Stroop task as a measure of dynamic adjustments in attentional control and highlight the importance of consideration of task-specific control systems underlying the CSE. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:This study examined behavioral and neuroelectric intra-individual variability (IIV) in preadolescent children during a task requiring variable amounts of cognitive control. The current study further examined whether IIV was moderated by aerobic fitness level. Participants performed a modified flanker task, comprised of congruent and incongruent arrays, within compatible and incompatible stimulus-response conditions. Results revealed that congruent, relative to incongruent, conditions were associated with less IIV of RT. Further, less IIV of RT, P3 amplitude, and P3 latency was observed for the compatible relative to the incompatible condition. Higher fitness was associated with shorter and less variable RT only for the incompatible condition, with no fitness-related differences observed for P3 variability. The findings suggest that conditions requiring greater cognitive control are associated with increased IIV, and that higher fitness may be associated with greater integrity of cognitive control systems during development.
Project description:The ability to selectively attend to task-relevant information increases throughout childhood and decreases in older age. Here, we intended to investigate these opposing developmental trajectories, to assess whether gains and losses early and late in life are associated with similar or different electrophysiological changes, and to get a better understanding about the development in middle-adulthood. We (re-)analyzed behavioral and electrophysiological data of 211 participants, who performed a colored Flanker task while their Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded. Participants were subdivided into six groups depending on their age, ranging from 8 to 83 years. We analyzed response speed and accuracy as well as the event replated potential (ERP) components P1 and N1, associated with visual processing and attention, N2 as marker of interference suppression and cognitive control, and P3 as a marker of cognitive updating and stimulus categorization. Response speed and accuracy were low early and later in life, with peak performance in young adults. Similarly, ERP latencies of all components and P1 and N1 amplitudes followed a u-shape pattern with shortest latencies and smallest amplitudes occurring in middle-age. N2 amplitudes were larger in children, and for incongruent stimuli in adults middle-aged and older. P3 amplitudes showed a parietal-to-frontal shift with age. Further, group-wise regression analyses suggested that children's performance depended on cognitive processing speed, while older adults' performance depended on cognitive resources. Together these results imply that different mechanisms restrict performance early and late in life and suggest a non-linear relationship between electrophysiological markers and performance in the Flanker task across the lifespan.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Early identification of preschool children who are at risk of faltering in their development is essential to ensuring that all children attain their full potential. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been used to measure neural correlates of cognitive and social development in children for decades. Effective portable and low-cost EEG devices increase the potential of its use to assess neurodevelopment in children at scale and particularly in low-resource settings. We conducted a systematic review aimed to synthesise EEG measures of cognitive and social development in 2-5-year old children. Our secondary aim was to identify how these measures differ across a) the course of development within this age range, b) gender and c) socioeconomic status (SES).<h4>Methods and findings</h4>A systematic literature search identified 51 studies for inclusion in this review. Data relevant to the primary and secondary aims was extracted from these studies and an assessment for risk of bias was done, which highlighted the need for harmonisation of EEG data collection and analysis methods across research groups and more detailed reporting of participant characteristics. Studies reported on the domains of executive function (n = 22 papers), selective auditory attention (n = 9), learning and memory (n = 5), processing of faces (n = 7) and emotional stimuli (n = 8). For papers investigating executive function and selective auditory attention, the most commonly reported measures were alpha power and the amplitude and latency of positive (P1, P2, P3) and negative (N1, N2) deflections of event related potential (ERPs) components. The N170 and P1 ERP components were the most commonly reported neural responses to face and emotional faces stimuli. A mid-latency negative component and positive slow wave were used to index learning and memory, and late positive potential in response to emotional non-face stimuli. While almost half the studies described changes in EEG measures across age, only eight studies disaggregated results based on gender, and six included children from low income households to assess the impact of SES on neurodevelopment. No studies were conducted in low- and middle-income countries.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This review has identified power across the EEG spectrum and ERP components to be the measures most commonly reported in studies in which preschool children engage in tasks indexing cognitive and social development. It has also highlighted the need for additional research into their changes across age and based on gender and SES.
Project description:The congruency sequence effect (CSE) refers to the finding that the effect of cognitive conflict is smaller following conflicting, incongruent trials than after non-conflicting, congruent trials in conflict tasks, such as the Stroop, Simon, and flanker tasks. This is typically interpreted as an upregulation of cognitive control in response to conflict. Weissman, Jiang, & Egner (2014) investigated whether the CSE appears in these three tasks and a further variant where task-irrelevant distractors precede the target (prime-probe task), in the absence of learning and memory confounds in samples collected online. They found significant CSEs only in the prime-probe and Simon tasks, suggesting that the effect is more robust in tasks where the distractor can be translated into a response faster than the target. In this Registered Replication Report we collected data online from samples approx. 2.5 times larger than in the original study for each of the four tasks to investigate whether the task-related differences in the magnitude of the CSE are replicable (Nmin = 115, Nmax = 130). Our findings extend but do not contradict the original results: Bayesian analyses suggested that the CSE was present in all four tasks in RT but only in the Simon task in accuracy. The size of the effect did not differ between tasks, and the size of the congruency effect was not correlated with the size of the CSE across participants. These findings suggest it might be premature to conclude that the difference in the speed of distractor- vs target-related response activation is a determinant of the size of cross-trial modulations of control. The practical implications of our results for online data collection in cognitive control research are also discussed.
Project description:Multiple breath inert gas washout (MBW) systems are designed to minimize equipment dead space volume (Vd). Animal and infant studies have demonstrated the impact of increased Vd on MBW measurements. In this study, we investigate the effect of Vd of a nitrogen (N2 ) MBW system on MBW measurements in preschool children.N2 MBW measurements were performed in healthy adults under standard conditions; Vd was added to match the relationship between Vd and lung volumes observed in preschool children. Subsequently, subjects were measured on a sulfur hexafluoride (SF6 ) MBW system under standard conditions and with Vd added to match that of the N2 MBW system. Healthy preschool children and children with cystic fibrosis were tested on both the N2 MBW and SF6 MBW in random order on the same day. A correction equation was derived based on the adult experiments and tested on the preschool data.Increasing the Vd of the N2 MBW system resulted in a higher lung clearance index (LCI). A strong non-linear relationship between N2 LCI and the Vd/tidal volume was observed. When the Vd was equivalent between systems, LCI measured by the SF6 MBW system was similar to that measured by the N2 MBW. LCI was higher on the N2 MBW than the SF6 MBW in preschool children. Correcting for the equipment Vd of the N2 MBW resulted in better agreement.Equipment Vd affects LCI measurements especially in young children where Vd is large relative to lung volumes.
Project description:Task switching is often considered for evaluating limitations of cognitive flexibility. Switch costs are behavioural indices of limited cognitive flexibility, and switch costs may be decomposable into stimulus- and response-related fractions, as conjectured by the domain hypothesis of cognitive flexibility. According to the domain hypothesis, there exist separable stimulus- and response-related neural networks for cognitive flexibility, which should be discernible as distinct event-related potentials (ERPs). The present card-matching study allowed isolating stimulus- and response-related switch costs, while measuring ERPs evoked by task cues and target stimuli with a focus on the target-locked N2/P3 complex. Behavioural data revealed that both stimulus-task and response-task bindings contribute to switch costs. Cue-locked ERPs yielded larger anterior negativity/posterior positivity in response to switch cues compared to repeat cues. Target-locked ERPs revealed separable ERP correlates of stimulus- and response-related switch costs. P3 waveforms with fronto-central scalp distributions emerged as a corollary of stimulus-related switch costs. Fronto-centrally distributed N2 waveforms occurred when stimulus-task and response-task bindings contributed jointly to switch costs. The reported N2/P3 ERP data are commensurate with the domain hypothesis according to which there exist separable stimulus- and response-related neural networks for cognitive flexibility.
Project description:Over the last two decades, the congruency sequence effect (CSE) -the finding of a reduced congruency effect following incongruent trials in conflict tasks- has played a central role in advancing research on cognitive control. According to the influential conflict-monitoring account, the CSE reflects adjustments in selective attention that enhance task focus when needed, often termed conflict adaptation. However, this dominant interpretation of the CSE has been called into question by several alternative accounts that stress the role of episodic memory processes: feature binding and (stimulus-response) contingency learning. To evaluate the notion of conflict adaptation in accounting for the CSE, we construed versions of three widely used experimental paradigms (the colour-word Stroop, picture-word Stroop and flanker task) that effectively control for feature binding and contingency learning. Results revealed that a CSE can emerge in all three tasks. This strongly suggests a contribution of attentional control to the CSE and highlights the potential of these unprecedentedly clean paradigms for further examining cognitive control.
Project description:Theories of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) posit either executive deficits and/or alterations in motivational style and reward processing as core to the disorder. Effects of motivational incentives on electrophysiological correlates of inhibitory control and relationships between motivation and stimulant medication have not been explicitly tested.Children (9-15 years) with combined-type ADHD (n = 28) and matched typically developing children (CTRL) (n = 28) performed a go/no-go task. Electroencephalogram data were recorded. Amplitude of two event-related potentials, the N2 and P3 (markers of response conflict and attention), were measured. The ADHD children were all stimulant responders tested on and off their usual dose of methylphenidate; CTRLs were never medicated. All children performed the task under three motivational conditions: reward; response cost; and baseline, in which points awarded/deducted for inhibitory performance varied.There were effects of diagnosis (CTRL > ADHD unmedicated), medication (on > off), and motivation (reward and/or response cost > baseline) on N2 and P3 amplitude, although the N2 diagnosis effect did not reach statistical significance (p = .1). Interactions between motivation and diagnosis/medication were nonsignificant (p > .1).Motivational incentives increased amplitudes of electrophysiological correlates of response conflict and attention in children with ADHD, towards the baseline (low motivation) amplitudes of control subjects. These results suggest that, on these measures, motivational incentives have similar effects in children with ADHD as typically developing CTRLs and have additive effects with stimulant medication, enhancing stimulus salience and allocation of attentional resources during response inhibition.