Behavioral and neural measures of semantic conflict monitoring: Findings from a novel picture-word interference task

Elizabeth A. Lydon, Holly B. Panfil, Sharbel Yako, Raksha A. Mudar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conflict monitoring has been studied extensively using experimental paradigms that manipulate perceptual dimensions of stimuli and responses. The picture-word interference (PWI) task has historically been used to examine semantic conflict, but primarily for the purpose of examining lexical retrieval. In this study, we utilized two novel PWI tasks to assess conflict monitoring in the context of semantic conflict. Participants included nineteen young adults (14F, age = 20.79 ± 3.14) who completed two tasks: Animals and Objects. Task and conflict effects were assessed by examining behavioral (reaction time and accuracy) and neurophysiological (oscillations in theta, alpha, and beta band) measures. Results revealed conflict effects within both tasks, but the pattern of findings differed across the two semantic categories. Participants were slower to respond to unmatched versus matched trials on the Objects task only and were less accurate responding to matched versus unmatched trials in the Animals task only. We also observed task differences, with participants responding more accurately on conflict trials for Animals compared to Objects. Differences in neural oscillations were observed, including between-task differences in low beta oscillations and within-task differences in theta, alpha, and low beta. We also observed significant correlations between task performance and standard measures of cognitive control. This work provides new insights into conflict monitoring, highlighting the importance of examining conflict across different semantic categories, especially in the context of animacy. The findings serve as a benchmark to assess conflict monitoring using PWI tasks across populations of varying cognitive ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148900
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Jul 1 2024


  • Beta power
  • Conflict monitoring
  • EEG
  • Picture-word interference
  • Semantic categorization
  • Theta power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Behavioral and neural measures of semantic conflict monitoring: Findings from a novel picture-word interference task'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this