TITRATING COGNITIVE CONTROL: TRIAL-LEVEL DYNAMIC USE OF PROACTIVE AND REACTIVE COGNITIVE CONTROL
Cognitive control is accomplished by a set of higher-order cognitive processes that are recruited to aid in the completion of various tasks. A popular proposed mechanism is the Dual Mechanisms of Control (Braver, Gray, & Burgess, 2007), proposing proactive and reactive mechanisms. While neuroscience studies provide evidence that these are two distinct processes, it remains unclear whether the processes are competing, or whether they can be used together. That is, are the two processes able to both be enacted to some degree? Further, whether these mechanisms can be titrated to produce a gradient-like use of control on a trial-level basis is unknown. These are the two primary pursuits of this dissertation. Experiment 1 shows the titrated pattern of control use, indicating (a) sensitivity to task demands, and (b) dynamic use of proactive and reactive control at the trial level, in a new task. Further, a novel contribution is the observation of ability to titrate the use of control. Additional experiments relate performance on this task to working memory (Experiment 2), replicate the findings in an online format (Experiment 3), and differentiate performance from distance effects commonly seen in relative judgment tasks (Experiment 4). This work has implications for the understanding of how cognitive control functions and how dynamically the use of these mechanisms can be adjusted.