Does conflict resolution rely on working memory?


Theoretical considerations and results from individual differences studies suggest that working memory and conflict resolution are interrelated functions. Yet, there is little direct evidence suggesting that they actually share common cognitive resources. To study how overcoming conflict influences the maintenance of working memory representations and vice versa, we conducted 4 experiments using a dual-task paradigm in which both working memory load and level of conflict were independently manipulated. Participants performed an auditory Stroop task (high'' or low’’ spoken in high/low pitch), which was presented during the retention period of a visual change detection task (Experiments 1-4) or simultaneously with the working memory encoding phase (Experiment 2-4). Across the 4 experiments, we found no consistent interaction between level of conflict and working memory load on working memory performance, although there was evidence in 2 of the 4 experiments for a small effect on auditory Stroop accuracy (but not on response times). These findings present at best weak evidence for the hypothesis that the maintenance of task goals in working memory is critical for successful conflict resolution. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learnning, Mememory, and Cognition

Citations: Moss, M. E., Kikumoto, A., & Mayr, U. (2020). Does conflict resolution rely on working memory? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication.