- The effect of fMRI (noise) on cognitive control
- Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance
- Volume | Issue number
- 38 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Stressful situations, the aversiveness of events, or increases in task difficulty (e.g., conflict) have repeatedly been shown to be capable of triggering attentional control adjustments. In the present study we tested whether the particularity of an fMRI testing environment (i.e., EPI noise) might result in such increases of the cognitive control exerted. We found that participants were more effective in controlling episodic retrieval of previous stimulus-response bindings (Experiment 1), in switching to a new task (Experiment 2), and shielding a current goal from distracting response tendencies (Experiment 3) if they were exposed to challenging task situations, such as 70 dB echo planar imaging noise sampled from an fMRI scanner. These findings have considerable theoretical implications in questioning the widespread assumption that people are equally devoted to easy and more challenging tasks, and methodological implications in raising the possibility that experiments carried out in fMRI scanners or under otherwise challenging conditions systematically overestimate contributions from cognitive control processes.
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