Are cognitive control processes reliable?

Peter S. Whitehead, Gene Brewer, Christopher Blais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Recent work on cognitive control focuses on the conflict-monitoring hypothesis, which posits that a performance monitoring mechanism recruits regions in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to ensure that goal-directed behavior is optimal. Critical to this theory is that a single performance monitoring mechanism explains a large number of behavioral effects including the sequential congruency effect (SCE) and the error-related slowing (ERS) effect. This leads to the prediction that the size of these effects should correlate across cognitive control tasks. To this end, we conducted three large-scale individual differences experiments to examine whether the SCE and ERS effect are correlated across Simon, Flanker, and Stroop tasks. Across all experiments, the results revealed a correlation for the error-related slowing effect, but not for the sequential congruency effect across tasks. We discuss the implications of these results in regards to the hypothesis that a domain-general performance monitoring mechanism drives both effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-778
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Cognitive control
  • Conflict-monitoring
  • Error-related slowing
  • Individual differences
  • Sequential congruency effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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