Spatial frequency information modulates response inhibition and decision-making processes

PLoS One. 2013 Oct 21;8(10):e76467. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076467. eCollection 2013.

Abstract

We interact with the world through the assessment of available, but sometimes imperfect, sensory information. However, little is known about how variance in the quality of sensory information affects the regulation of controlled actions. In a series of three experiments, comprising a total of seven behavioral studies, we examined how different types of spatial frequency information affect underlying processes of response inhibition and selection. Participants underwent a stop-signal task, a two choice speed/accuracy balance experiment, and a variant of both these tasks where prior information was given about the nature of stimuli. In all experiments, stimuli were either intact, or contained only high-, or low- spatial frequencies. Overall, drift diffusion model analysis showed a decreased rate of information processing when spatial frequencies were removed, whereas the criterion for information accumulation was lowered. When spatial frequency information was intact, the cost of response inhibition increased (longer SSRT), while a correct response was produced faster (shorter reaction times) and with more certainty (decreased errors). When we manipulated the motivation to respond with a deadline (i.e., be fast or accurate), removal of spatial frequency information slowed response times only when instructions emphasized accuracy. However, the slowing of response times did not improve error rates, when compared to fast instruction trials. These behavioral studies suggest that the removal of spatial frequency information differentially affects the speed of response initiation, inhibition, and the efficiency to balance fast or accurate responses. More generally, the present results indicate a task-independent influence of basic sensory information on strategic adjustments in action control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was supported by Mozaiek grant 017.005.107 (SJ) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.