A new perspective on the role of the frontoparietal regions in Stroop-like conflicts

Noga Oren, Donna Abecasis, Edna Inbar, Amir Glik, Israel Steiner, Irit Shapira-Lichter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Humans are goal-directed; however, goal-unrelated information still affects us, but how? The Stroop task is often used to answer this question, relying on conflict (incongruency) between attributes, one targeted by the task and another irrelevant to the task. The frontal regions of the brain are known to play a crucial role in processing such conflict, as they show increased activity when we encounter incongruent stimuli. Notably, the Stroop stimuli also consist of conceptual dimensions, such as semantic or emotional content, that are independent of the attributes that define the conflict. Since the non-targeted attribute usually refers to the same conceptual dimension as the targeted-attribute, it is relevant to the task at hand. For example, when naming the emotion of an emotional face superimposed by an emotional word, both the targeted-attribute and the non-targeted attribute refer to the conceptual dimension “emotion”. We designed an fMRI paradigm to investigate how conflicts between different conceptual dimensions impact us. Even though the conflict was task-irrelevant, incongruent stimuli resulted in longer reaction times, indicating a behavioral congruency effect. When examining the neural mechanisms that underlie this effect, we found that the frontal regions exhibited repetition suppression, while the bilateral intraparietal sulcus (IPS) showed a congruency effect linked to the behavioral effect. Taken together, these findings suggest that individuals are unable to completely ignore task-irrelevant information, and that the IPS plays a crucial role in processing such information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4310-4320
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume44
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • attention
  • conflict adaptation
  • conflict monitoring
  • congruency effect
  • intraparietal sulcus
  • repetition suppression

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