Role of cognitive control in resolving two types of conflict during spoken word production

Mara Steinberg Lowe, Adam Buchwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A theoretically- and clinically-important issue for understanding word retrieval is how speakers resolve conflict during linguistic tasks. This study investigated two types of conflict resolution: prepotent conflict, when one dominant incorrect response must be suppressed; and underdetermined conflict, when multiple reasonable responses compete. The congruency sequence effect paradigm was used to assess trial-to-trial changes in reaction time and accuracy during word production tasks with either prepotent or underdetermined conflict. Pictures were named faster on trials with low-conflict as compared to high-conflict regardless of conflict type. This effect was modulated by the amount of conflict experienced on the previous trial for both tasks. These results suggest that resolution of underdetermined and prepotent conflict may engage the same general cognitive mechanism. This work expands our understanding of the relationship between cognitive control and word production and can inform clinical approaches for people with anomia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1097
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023


  • Cognitive control
  • congruency sequence effect
  • spoken word production
  • underdetermined conflict‌
  • ‌prepotent conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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