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This study assessed whether two well known effects associated with cognitive control, conflict adaptation (the Gratton effect) and conflict context (proportion congruent effects), reflect a single common or separate control systems. To test this we examined if these two effects generalized from one kind of conflict to another by using a combined-conflict paradigm (involving the Simon and Spatial Stroop tasks) and manipulating the proportion of congruent to incongruent trials for one conflict (Simon) but not the other (Spatial Stroop). We found that conflict adaptation effects did not generalize, but the effect of conflict context did. This contrasting pattern of results strongly suggests the existence of two separate attentional control systems, one transient and responsible of online regulation of performance (conflict adaptation), the other sustained and responsible for conflict context effects.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





338 - 347


Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Cognition Disorders, Conflict, Psychological, Female, Humans, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Young Adult