Posterior delta/theta EEG activity as an early signal of Stroop conflict detection.

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    • Abstract:
      The conflict monitoring theory postulates that conflict detection is initiated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), indexed by midfrontal theta oscillations in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Recent research suggested that distractor detection (in the Eriksen flanker task) can be initiated relatively early by attentional control processes in the occipital lobe. Whether attentional control is also involved in the detection of stimulus–response overlapping conflict in the Stroop task is yet unclear. In the present study, we analyzed EEG time‐frequency data (N = 47) to investigate the contribution of early attentional control processes to the detection of response conflict and semantic conflict in a lateralized version of the color‐word Stroop task. The behavioral results showed significant conflict effects in response times (RT). The EEG results showed a prominent midfrontal response conflict effect in total theta power (4–8 Hz). Importantly, detection of response conflict and semantic conflict was observed in posterior delta/theta power (2–8 Hz), which was lateralized depending on the presentation side of the irrelevant Stroop words. In explorative regression analysis, both the midfrontal and the posterior response conflict effects predicted the size of response conflict errors. These results suggest that attentional control processes in posterior areas contribute to the initiation of response‐conflict detection in the Stroop task. The findings are consistent with the idea of a representational link between stimulus and response features, known as the common coding principle. This study provides evidence for a conflict detection signal in EEG delta/theta power in a lateralized version of the Stroop task. The posterior signal was associated to response conflict and to semantic conflict. This finding challenges the conflict monitoring account, which postulates that conflict detection is initiated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), as reflected by midfrontal theta power increase. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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