Early and late indications of item-specific control in a Stroop mouse tracking study

Carsten Bundt, Marit F L Ruitenberg, Elger L Abrahamse, Wim Notebaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Previous studies indicated that cognitive conflict continues to bias actions even after a movement has been initiated. The present paper examined whether cognitive control also biases actions after movement initiation. To this end, we had participants perform a Stroop task in which we manipulated the item-specific proportion of (in)congruent trials (80% congruent vs. 20% congruent). Importantly, participants responded via mouse movements, allowing us to evaluate various movement parameters: initiation times, movement times, and movement accuracy. Results showed that mouse movements were faster and more accurate during congruent trials compared to incongruent trials. Moreover, we observed that this congruency effect was larger for 80% congruent compared to 20% congruent items, which reflects item-specific cognitive control. Notably, when responses were initiated very fast - rendering virtually no time for stimulus processing before movement onset - this item-specific control was observed only in movement times. However, for relatively slow initiated responses, item specific control was observed both in initiation and in movement times. These findings demonstrate that item-specific cognitive control biases actions before and after movement initiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0197278
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Reaction Time
  • Self-Control
  • Stroop Test
  • Young Adult


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