Neurodevelopment of Conflict Adaptation: Evidence From Event-Related Potentials

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Abstract

Conflict adaptation is key in how children self-regulate and assert cognitive control in a given situation compared with a previous experience. In the current study, we analyzed event-related potentials (ERPs) to identify age-related differences in conflict adaptation. Participants of different ages (5-year-old children, 10-year-old children, and adults) were subjected to a stimulus-stimulus (S-S) conflict control task (the flanker task) and a stimulus-response (S-R) conflict control task (the Simon task). The behavioral results revealed that all age groups had reliable conflict adaptation effects (CAEs), with faster response times on current incongruent trials preceded by incongruent trials (iI trials) compared with current incongruent trials preceded by congruent trials (cI trials). There were also faster response times on current congruent trials preceded by congruent trials (cC trials) compared with current congruent trials preceded by incongruent trials (iC trials). Moreover, children demonstrated higher CAE related RTs compared with adults. Electrophysiological results showed that both 10-year-old children and adults had reliable CAEs in the flanker task during conflict detection, with a less N2 amplitude on cI trials compared with iI trials. We also found smaller ERP related CAE values in adults compared with children in the Simon task. Our findings suggest a developmental improvement of conflict adaptation that could lead to a state of relative equilibrium, allowing individuals to better assimilate and accommodate potential environmental conflicts. The results may also indicate that the development of conflict adaption is affected by the specific characteristic of the different types of conflict.
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Detaljer

Conflict adaptation is key in how children self-regulate and assert cognitive control in a given situation compared with a previous experience. In the current study, we analyzed event-related potentials (ERPs) to identify age-related differences in conflict adaptation. Participants of different ages (5-year-old children, 10-year-old children, and adults) were subjected to a stimulus-stimulus (S-S) conflict control task (the flanker task) and a stimulus-response (S-R) conflict control task (the Simon task). The behavioral results revealed that all age groups had reliable conflict adaptation effects (CAEs), with faster response times on current incongruent trials preceded by incongruent trials (iI trials) compared with current incongruent trials preceded by congruent trials (cI trials). There were also faster response times on current congruent trials preceded by congruent trials (cC trials) compared with current congruent trials preceded by incongruent trials (iC trials). Moreover, children demonstrated higher CAE related RTs compared with adults. Electrophysiological results showed that both 10-year-old children and adults had reliable CAEs in the flanker task during conflict detection, with a less N2 amplitude on cI trials compared with iI trials. We also found smaller ERP related CAE values in adults compared with children in the Simon task. Our findings suggest a developmental improvement of conflict adaptation that could lead to a state of relative equilibrium, allowing individuals to better assimilate and accommodate potential environmental conflicts. The results may also indicate that the development of conflict adaption is affected by the specific characteristic of the different types of conflict.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftDevelopmental Psychology
Volume/Bind54
Tidsskriftsnummer7
Sider (fra-til)1347-1362
Antal sider16
ISSN0012-1649
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 jul. 2018
PublikationsartForskning
Peer reviewJa
ID: 267443452