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Urgency forces stimulus-driven action by overcoming cognitive control

  1. Christian H Poth  Is a corresponding author
  1. Neuro-Cognitive Psychology, Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Interaction Technology, Bielefeld University, Germany
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e73682 doi: 10.7554/eLife.73682
4 figures and 1 additional file

Figures

Experimental paradigms.

On each trial, participants fixated a fixation stimulus whose disappearance served as a go-signal, prompting a response within a 1 s deadline. In both experiments, the target stimulus followed the go-signal after a variable gap duration. Shorter gaps imply lower urgency for responding, leaving enough time until the deadline. Longer gaps imply higher urgency for responding, leaving little or no time until the deadline. Participants responded by button press, receiving a feedback about whether they responded in time. Experiment 1 used a spatial Stroop task, in which participants indicated the direction of an arrow matching or mismatching (congruent vs. incongruent) its horizontal location. Experiment 2 used a flanker task, in which participants indicated the direction of a central arrow flanked by matching or mismatching (congruent vs. incongruent) distractor stimuli. Raw processing time (RPT) is the reaction time (RT) minus gap duration.

Behavioral results of Experiment 1 (upper panel) and Experiment 2 (lower panel).

(a, d). Tachometric functions depicting performance as a function of RPT for the congruent and incongruent conditions of the aggregate participant. (b, e) In contrast to the congruent condition, the incongruent condition led to a larger drop of performance below chance. (c, f) The drop of performance below chance was larger, when the previous trial was congruent (prev. cong.) rather than incongruent (prev. incong.). Error bars are standard errors from a bootstrap.

Appendix 1—figure 1
Behavioral results of the pilot experiment.

(a) Tachometric functions depicting performance as a function of RPT for the congruent and incongruent conditions of the aggregate participant. (b) In contrast to the congruent condition, the incongruent condition led to a larger drop of performance below chance. Error bars are standard errors from a bootstrap.

Appendix 1—figure 2
Relationships between urgency and measures of arousal in Experiment 1 (upper panel) and Experiment 2 (lower panel).

(a, c) Urgency (gap duration) was associated with pupil size in both congruency conditions (average pupil size was assessed over 1 s after manual responses and z-scored across the trials of each session, see methods). (b, d) Likewise, urgency was associated with the peak velocity (relative to saccade amplitude) of the first saccade after target onset in both congruency conditions (see methods for saccade detection criteria).

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