The role of expectation and experience in the control of attention

2021-8
İleri Tayar, Merve
Cognitive control is the ability to exhibit goal-directed and flexible behavior by suppressing automatic and unintended behaviors. The Stroop task, which contains congruent and incongruent items, is commonly used to investigate cognitive control. The participants are instructed to react to the color of the stimulus while ignoring its meaning. A typical observation in the Stroop task is the Stroop effect, which represents slower response times and higher error rates for the incongruent items compared to the congruent items. In the list-wide proportion congruence (LWPC) studies, the proportion of congruent and incongruent items in the list is manipulated, and mostly congruent (MC) and mostly incongruent (MI) lists are created. A larger Stroop effect in the MC list compared to the MI list is called the LWPC effect. There is a continuing debate on whether the LWPC effect is a result of expectation-driven or experience-driven mechanisms. Using the precued list paradigm, researchers are able to observe the unique influence of expectation and experience on the control of attention. The current thesis aims to investigate the relationship between experience and expectation by using valid and invalid cues within the same experimental paradigm. By comparing the influence of expectation on validly- and invalidly-cued lists, we aimed to test three possible hypotheses: (1) pure experience, (2) additive experience and expectation, and (3) interactive experience and expectation. The results supported the pure experience hypothesis and demonstrated that when expectations do not fully correspond with actual experiences, pure experience modulates attentional control settings.

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Citation Formats
M. İleri Tayar, “The role of expectation and experience in the control of attention,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.