Conflict adaptation in schizophrenia: reviewing past and previewing future efforts

Elger Abrahamse, Marit Ruitenberg, Wout Duthoo, Bernard Sabbe, Manuel Morrens, Jean-Philippe van Dijck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Cognitive control impairments have been suggested to be a critical component in the overall cognitive deficits observed in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Here, we zoom in on a specific function of cognitive control, conflict adaptation. Abnormal neural activity patterns have been observed for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia in core conflict adaptation areas such as anterior cingulate cortex and prefrontal cortex. On the one hand, this strongly indicates that conflict adaptation is affected. On the other hand, however, outcomes at the behavioural level are needed to create a window into a precise interpretation of this abnormal neural activity.

METHODS: We present a narrative review of behavioural work within the context of conflict adaptation in schizophrenia, focusing on various major conflict adaptation markers: congruency sequence effects, proportion congruency effects, and post-error and post-conflict slowing. The review emphasises both methodological and theoretical aspects that are relevant to the understanding of conflict adaptation in schizophrenia.

RESULTS: Based on the currently available set of behavioural studies on conflict adaptation, no clear-cut answer can be provided as to the precise conflict adaptation processes that are impaired (and to what extent) in schizophrenia populations.

CONCLUSIONS: Future work is needed in state-of-the-art designs in order to reach better insight into the specifics of conflict adaptation impairments associated with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive neuropsychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schizophrenia/physiopathology


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