Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Cognitive control is a broad construct that defines a set of processes involved in maintaining task goals in response to interference. Working memory capacity (WMC) is a similarly defined construct that shares many overlapping functions with cognitive control. The studies presented used controlled forms of interference to identify limits, or boundary conditions, that could help clarify the relationship between cognitive control and WMC. Experiment 1 used context effects to manipulate how interference and cognitive control could overlap. A spatial Stroop/Simon task was used in which proportion congruency for each subset (e.g., Simon or spatial Stroop) was manipulated to produce a 2 x 2 arrangement. Error rates, reaction times (RT), post-error slowing, and conflict adaptation were measured. A composite WMC score was formed from multiple working memory tasks. The results demonstrate that WMC is recruited globally by proactive control processes to help maintain context-specific control and that conflict adaptation effects are not always context-specific. Experiment 2 used isolated forms of interference to examine cognitive control responses in a more structured, but limited, task. The spatial Stroop and Simon components were separated and assessed 48hrs apart. The same variables were measured. Results showed that Simon and spatial Stroop differ in proactive control, but not reactive control measures. No correlation with WMC was found in Experiment 2.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mathews, Robert

Included in

Psychology Commons