CNTRICS received 4 initial nominations for the dynamic adjustments in control construct: (1) the attention networks task (ANT); (2) the Simon task; (3) the trial-by-trial Stroop task; and (4) the stop signal task. In the stop signal task, as described below, dynamic adjustments in control are examined by determining how individuals modulate their behavior when given a cue to interpret an ongoing response. In the ANT, the Simon task, and the trial-by-trial Stroop, dynamic adjustments of control are examined by investigating 2 effects: (1) conflict adaptation77
and (2) posterror adjustments.78,79
Conflict adaptation is thought to reflect behavioral adjustments following trials with high conflict (eg, incongruent trials) vs those with low conflict (eg, neutral or congruent trials). In other words, participants are faster to response to an incongruent trial that is preceded by an incongruent trial compared with an incongruent trial preceded by a congruent trial.77,80
The interpretation of this result has been that the conflict engendered by the first incongruent trial leads to an upregulation in control that reduces the conflict induced by the next incongruent trial.80
Posterror adjustments are thought to reflect a similar process. Participants are typically slower, but more accurate, on trials following errors vs trials following correct responses.78,79
This is again thought to reflect an upregulation of control engendered by the awareness (not necessarily “conscious”) of having made an error.
The executive control breakout group felt that all 4 tasks were reasonable measures of the construct of interest. However, the breakout group felt that the ANT, the Simon, and the Stroop were all variations on a theme, with a similar deep structure in terms of assessing dynamic adjustments in control. Of the 3, the breakout group felt that the Stroop version has the largest extant literature in terms of the cognitive and neural bases of dynamic adjustments in control and the largest existing literature in schizophrenia. Thus, the breakout group recommended that the Stroop version be put forth for immediate translation for use in clinical trials in schizophrenia. In addition, the breakout group made a similar recommendation for the stop signal task, given that it measured a somewhat different aspect of dynamic adjustments in control and thus might provide complimentary information. provides a brief overview of these 4 tasks and a very brief summary of their pros and cons in regards to the selection criteria.
Table 2. Description of Tasks Nominated for Dynamic Adjustments in Control Construct Definition: The Processes Involved in Detecting the Occurrence of Conflict or Errors in Ongoing Processing, Identifying the Type of Control Adjustments Needed, and Recruiting (more ...)