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Psychological and Brain Sciences Brown Bag Seminar: Tobin Dykstra

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 11:30am
Psychological and Brain Sciences Building

Psychological and Brain Sciences Departmental Brown Bag Seminar

Tobin Dykstra, Psychological & Brain Sciences, The University of Iowa

"Don’t Stop Me Now: Detecting task structure via differences between global and selective stopping"

Abstract: The task-file hypothesis (Schumacher & Hazeltine, 2016) posits that complex actions are stored as hierarchical associations amongst features of the behavior (stimuli, response properties, rules, etc.). To test this hypothesis, we propose to leverage the phenomenon of selective inhibition, in which one of a set of responses is inhibited while others are executed. Specifically, we explore if the encapsulated nature of task-files eases selective action-stopping. Subjects will complete global and selective inhibition tasks to establish baseline behavioral differences between stopping all actions and stopping selectively. Then, we plan to manipulate stimulus and response properties and evaluate effects on the difficulty of selective stopping. Selective stopping is most successful when response time of the uncancelled response is unchanged compared to the go condition (i.e., the inhibition process had no effect on that response and was thus truly selective). We predict the best selective stopping when stimulus and/or response properties are different compared to when they are similar. That is, selective stopping is facilitated when two behaviors belong to distinct task-files. The predicted results would support the hypothesis that complex actions are stored in hierarchical task-files, and are not restricted to simple stimulus-response associations.