Fatigue of Cognitive Control in the Stroop-Task


Working on cognitively demanding tasks for a long time leads to a state of mental fatigue, which involves increased distractability, impaired error monitoring, or more generally an impairment of cognitive control processes. The present study indicates that cognitive control can deteriorate already after about 15 minutes. During a Stroop task, a classical measure of inhibitory control, where a high number of congruent trials encourages goal neglect and thus increases working memory load, error rates and the variability of response times increased over the course of 480 trials. These results can be interpreted as indicative of a gradual impairment of cognitive control due to the continuous exertion of cognitive control.

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