ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (2): 128-138.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00128

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


张孟可, 李晴, 尹首航, 陈安涛()   

  1. 西南大学心理学部, 认知与人格教育部重点实验室, 重庆 400715
  • 收稿日期:2020-02-24 出版日期:2021-02-25 发布日期:2020-12-29
  • 通讯作者: 陈安涛
  • 基金资助:

Changes in the level of conflict trigger conflict adaptation

ZHANG Mengke, LI Qing, YIN Shouhang, CHEN Antao()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality of Ministry of Education, Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2020-02-24 Online:2021-02-25 Published:2020-12-29
  • Contact: CHEN Antao


冲突适应是重要的认知控制现象, 反映了认知控制的动态过程。然而, 目前为止对于冲突水平上的差异能否诱发冲突适应尚不清楚。本研究采用字母Flanker的变式, 通过改变目标-分心物的一致性操纵冲突水平, 探究冲突水平的变化对认知控制调整的影响。结果发现被试的反应时间随冲突水平的提高而增加; 而且先前试次的一致性影响当前试次的干扰效应, 无冲突和低冲突、无冲突和高冲突、低冲突和高冲突条件之间均出现了典型的冲突适应。本研究结果表明, 除了冲突的有无, 冲突水平的变化也能诱发冲突适应, 支持更大的冲突驱动更强的认知控制, 而且冲突诱发的认知控制的功能可能通过注意聚焦实现。这一发现为冲突监测理论的注意调节机制提供了直接的支持证据, 对于促进冲突适应的相关研究具有重要意义。

关键词: 认知控制, 冲突水平, 冲突适应, 注意聚焦


Conflict adaptation is an important phenomenon, as the interference effect on the current trials is reduced following incongruent versus congruent trials. Moreover, conflict adaptation effect (CAE) is thought to measure adaptive control on a trial-by-trial basis. There are two main theories explaining the mechanisms underlying CAE: conflict monitoring theory and adaptation by binding theory. However, both theories have not explicitly proposed a clear relationship between conflict strength and cognitive control adjustment. Previous studies have mostly focused on the type of conflict that triggers CAE, which reflected qualitative analysis. Hence, it remains unclear whether changes in the level of conflict of the same conflict type affect conflict adaptation.

To address the above issue, the present study recruited 31 healthy participants with a mean age of 19.74 years to perform the variant of the letter flanker task without feature repetitions. Each stimulus was composed of “F/H/N/P” letter components and arranged in a way that a central target letter was flanked by symmetric arrays of two distracter letters. Experiment manipulated the level of conflict by parametrically varying the target-distracter compatibility. Flankers were 100% compatible with the central target for no-conflict condition (e.g., NNNNN), 50% for low-conflict condition (e.g., HNNNH), and 0% for high-conflict condition (e.g., HHNHH). Congruent stimuli were presented on 50% of trials with each incongruent condition occurring equally often on the remaining 50% of trials.

Results showed that reaction times (RTs) increased with the number of incompatible flankers, suggesting a correlation with the level of conflict. Moreover, the interaction between previous trial congruency (no-conflict/low-conflict/high-conflict) and current trial congruency (no-conflict/low-conflict/high-conflict) was significant, which suggested that congruency of previous trials affected the interference effect of current trials. Follow-up analyses revealed that there were classic conflict adaptation phenomena between no-conflict and low-conflict, no-conflict and high-conflict, and low-conflict and high-conflict conditions. These results showed that conflict adaptation was also triggered by the level of conflict in addition to the occurrence of the conflict. Overall, the present study demonstrated that the conflict strength of previous trials was related to the cognitive control level of current trials, showing that larger conflict led to stronger cognitive control adjustment. In addition, the function of conflict-induced cognitive control may be realized by attentional focusing.

In conclusion, the present study emphasizes that changes in the level of conflict could trigger conflict adaptation, which provides more direct support for attention adjustment mechanism of conflict monitoring theory. Combining existing researches, we infer that conflict monitoring is sensitive to the type and level of conflict, and adjusts the level of cognitive control to facilitate conflict resolution.

Key words: cognitive control, level of conflict, conflict adaptation, attentional focusing