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. 2009 Sep;35(5):1381-8.
doi: 10.1037/a0016645.

Automaticity of Cognitive Control: Goal Priming in Response-Inhibition Paradigms

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Automaticity of Cognitive Control: Goal Priming in Response-Inhibition Paradigms

Frederick Verbruggen et al. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. .

Abstract

Response inhibition is a hallmark of cognitive control. An executive system inhibits responses by activating a stop goal when a stop signal is presented. The authors asked whether the stop goal could be primed by task-irrelevant information in stop-signal and go/no-go paradigms. In Experiment 1, the task-irrelevant primes GO, ###, or STOP were presented in the go stimulus. Go performance was slower for STOP than for ### or GO. This suggests that the stop goal was primed by task-irrelevant information. In Experiment 2, STOP primed the stop goal only in conditions in which the goal was relevant to the task context. In Experiment 3, GO, ###, or STOP were presented as stop signals. Stop performance was slower for GO than for ### or STOP. These findings suggest that task goals can be primed and that response inhibition and executive control can be influenced by automatic processing.

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