The influence of reward associations on conflict processing in the Stroop task.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Performance in a behavioral task can be facilitated by associating stimulus properties with reward. In contrast, conflicting information is known to impede task performance. Here we investigated how reward associations influence the within-trial processing of conflicting information using a color-naming Stroop task in which a subset of ink colors (task-relevant dimension) was associated with monetary incentives. We found that color-naming performance was enhanced on trials with potential-reward versus those without. Moreover, in potential-reward trials, typical conflict-induced performance decrements were attenuated if the incongruent word (task-irrelevant dimension) was unrelated to reward. In contrast, incongruent words that were semantically related to reward-predicting ink colors interfered with performance in potential-reward trials and even more so in no-reward trials, despite the semantic meaning being entirely task-irrelevant. These observations imply that the prospect of reward enhances the processing of task-relevant stimulus information, whereas incongruent reward-related information in a task-irrelevant dimension can impede task performance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Krebs, RM; Boehler, CN; Woldorff, MG

Published Date

  • December 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 117 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 341 - 347

PubMed ID

  • 20864094

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2967668

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-7838

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.08.018


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands