A Repetition-Suppression Account of Between-Trial Effects in a Modified Stroop Paradigm

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Theories that postulate cognitive inhibition are very common in psychology and cognitive neuroscience [e.g., Hasher, L., Lustig, C., & Zacks, R. T. (2007). Inhibitory mechanisms and the control of attention. In A. Conway, C. Jarrold, M. Kane, A. Miyake, A. Towse, & J. Towse (Eds.), Variation in working memory (pp. 227–249). New York, NY: Oxford, University Press], although they have recently been severely criticized [e.g., MacLeod, C. M., Dodd, M. D., Sheard, E. D., Wilson, D. E., & Bibi, U. (2003). In opposition to inhibition. In H. Ross (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 43, pp. 163–214). Elsevier Science]. This paper poses and attempts to answer the question whether a research program with cognitive inhibition as its main theoretical assumption is still worth pursuing. We present a set of empirical data from a modified Stroop paradigm that replicates previously reported findings. These findings refer to between-trial effects previously described in the literature on Stroop, negative priming, and inhibition-of-return. Existing theoretical accounts fail to explain all these effects in an integrated way. A repetition-suppression mechanism is proposed in order to account for these data. This mechanism is instantiated as a computational cognitive model. The theoretical implications of this model are discussed.



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