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Measuring unconscious response tendencies in adults and children

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The ability to select an appropriate motor response by resolving competition among alternative responses plays a major role in cognitive performance. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies suggest that the development of this skill is related to the maturation of the frontal cortex which underlies the improvement of motor inhibition abilities. However, fMRI cannot characterize the temporal properties of motor response competition and motor activation in general. Therefore, we studied the time-course of resolving motor response competition. In one study we used the Lateralized Readiness Potential (LRP), an event-related brain potential (ERP) measure, for tracking correct and incorrect motor cortex activation in children in real-time [Szucs et al. 2009. Journal of Cogn Neurosci, 11, 2195-2206]. In another study we combined ERP and electro-myography (EMG) in order to characterize response competition in a more direct way [Szucs et al. 2009. Neuroimage, 47, 1960-1973]. I will present and discuss our results.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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