Registered Replication Report of Weissman, D. H., Jiang, J., & Egner, T. (2014). Determinants of congruency sequence effects without learning and memory confounds.
Gyurkovics M., Kovacs M., Jaquiery M., Palfi B., Dechterenko F., Aczel B.
The congruency sequence effect (CSE) refers to the finding that the effect of cognitive conflict is smaller following conflicting, incongruent trials than after non-conflicting, congruent trials in conflict tasks, such as the Stroop, Simon, and flanker tasks. This is typically interpreted as an upregulation of cognitive control in response to conflict. Weissman, Jiang, & Egner (2014) investigated whether the CSE appears in these three tasks and a further variant where task-irrelevant distractors precede the target (prime-probe task), in the absence of learning and memory confounds in samples collected online. They found significant CSEs only in the prime-probe and Simon tasks, suggesting that the effect is more robust in tasks where the distractor can be translated into a response faster than the target. In this Registered Replication Report we collected data online from samples approx. 2.5 times larger than in the original study for each of the four tasks to investigate whether the task-related differences in the magnitude of the CSE are replicable (Nmin = 115, Nmax = 130). Our findings extend but do not contradict the original results: Bayesian analyses suggested that the CSE was present in all four tasks in RT but only in the Simon task in accuracy. The size of the effect did not differ between tasks, and the size of the congruency effect was not correlated with the size of the CSE across participants. These findings suggest it might be premature to conclude that the difference in the speed of distractor- vs target-related response activation is a determinant of the size of cross-trial modulations of control. The practical implications of our results for online data collection in cognitive control research are also discussed.