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The effect of high-frequency rTMS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on the resolution of response, semantic and task conflict in the colour-word Stroop task

Abstract : Previous work investigating the effect of rTMS of left Dorso-Lateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC) on Stroop task performance reports no changes to the Stroop effect but reduced reaction times on both congruent and incongruent trials relative to sham stimulation; an effect attributed to an enhanced attentional (or task) set for colour classification. The present study tested this account by investigating whether, relative to vertex stimulation, rTMS of the left DLPFC modifies task conflict, a form of conflict that arises when task sets for colour classification and word reading compete, given that this particular type of conflict would be reduced by an enhanced task set for colour classification. Furthermore, the present study included measures of other forms of conflict present in the Stroop task (response and semantic conflict), the potential effects on which would have been hidden in previous studies employing only incongruent and congruent stimuli. Our data showed that left DLPFC stimulation had no effect on the magnitude of task conflict, nor did it affect response, semantic or overall conflict (where the null is supported by sensitive Bayes Factors in most cases). However, consistent with previous research left DLPFC stimulation had the general effect of reducing reaction times. We, therefore, show for the first time that relative to real vertex stimulation left DLPFC stimulation does not modify Stroop interference. Alternative accounts of the role of the left DLPFC in Stroop task performance in which it either modifies response thresholds or facilitates responding by keeping the correct response keys active in working memory are discussed.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03147527
Contributor : Ludovic Ferrand <>
Submitted on : Saturday, February 20, 2021 - 9:05:44 AM
Last modification on : Monday, April 12, 2021 - 10:05:19 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, May 21, 2021 - 6:03:32 PM

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Benjamin Parris, Michael Wadsley, Gizem Arabaci, Nabil Hasshim, Maria Augustinova, et al.. The effect of high-frequency rTMS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on the resolution of response, semantic and task conflict in the colour-word Stroop task. Brain Structure and Function, Springer Verlag, 2021, 226, pp.1241-1252. ⟨10.1007/s00429-021-02237-4⟩. ⟨hal-03147527⟩

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