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Neuroimage. 2005 Sep;27(3):497-504.

Separating semantic conflict and response conflict in the Stroop task: a functional MRI study.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Attentive behavior requires the ability to perform in the face of distraction. Distracting information can cause conflict at any level along the information processing stream. However, it is not yet known whether the brain has distinct subsystems dedicated to detecting and resolving these different forms of distraction. Although previous studies have localized brain activity during semantic and response conflict, no prior study has specifically determined whether these activations occur in distinct or overlapping regions. We used a modified version of the Stroop color-word task, by which we were able to separate semantic from response conflict. Behavioral data indicate that these two kinds of conflict both contribute to the overall Stroop interference effect, while fMRI data indicate that they elicit non-overlapping activation in anterior cingulate, prefrontal, and parietal brain regions. These results suggest that the brain has distinct but parallel attentional mechanisms for resolving these different forms of cognitive interference.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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