A Psychophysiological Investigation of the Continuous Flow Model of Human Information Processing

Michael G.H. Coles, Gabriele Gratton, Theodore R. Bashore, Charles W. Eriksen, Emanuel Donchin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Twelve subjects responded to target letters "H" or "S" by squeezing dynamometers with the left or right hand. Targets could he surrounded by compatible (e.g., HHHHH) or incompatible noise (SSHSS) letters. Measures of the P300 component of the event-related brain potential and of correct and incorrect electromyographic and squeeze activity were used to study stimulus evaluation and response-related processes. When incorrect squeeze activity was present, execution of the correct response was prolonged, indicating a process of response competition. This process occurred more often under incompatible noise conditions, which were also associated with a delayed P300. Thus, the noise/compatibility manipulation influenced both stimulus evaluation and response competition processes. In contrast, a warning tone that preceded array presentation on half the trials, increased response speed without influencing evaluation time. The data suggest that the latency and accuracy of overt behavioral responses are a function of (a) a response activation process controlled by an evaluation process that accumulates evidence gradually, (b) a response priming process that is independent of stimulus evaluation, and (c) a response competition process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-553
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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