Author(s): Mayr U, Keele SW, Mayr U, Keele SW
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Abstract Flexible control of action requires the ability to disengage from previous goals or task sets. The authors tested the hypothesis that disengagement during intentional shifts between task sets is accompanied by inhibition of the previous task set ("backward inhibition"). As an expression of backward inhibition the authors predicted increased response times when shifting to a task set that had to be abandoned recently and, thus, suffers residual inhibition. The critical backward inhibition effect on the level of abstractly defined perceptual task sets was obtained across 6 different experiments. In addition, it was shown that backward inhibition can be differentiated from negative priming (Experiment 2), that it is tied to top-down sequential control (Experiment 3), that it can account at least partially for "residual shift costs" in set-shifting experiments (Experiment 4), and that it occurs even in the context of preplanned sequences of task sets (Experiment 5).
This article was published in J Exp Psychol Gen
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism