Behavioural and neurophysiological correlates of bivalent and univalent responses during task switching

S. C. Mueller, Rachel Swainson, G. M. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


A hallmark of human behaviour is its flexibility. In any given circumstance there is typically a range of possible responses that could be selected. In the current study participants were presented with stimulus displays that afforded two simple cognitive tasks and were required to switch predictably between them. The judgements for each task were either uniquely mapped onto separate effectors (univalent conditions) or else mapped onto shared effectors (bivalent condition). The results demonstrated that whilst behavioural switch costs were similar across the mapping conditions, these conditions differed in the patterns of brain activity observed during task preparation and early visual processing of the target. Specifically, a cue-locked switch-related late frontal negativity was present over frontal sensors for the bivalent condition only, and a target-locked N1 over occipital sensors was larger in the bivalent condition than the univalent conditions. In contrast, a switch-related target-locked P3b component was common to all mapping conditions. These findings are discussed with respect to differences in processing demands for switching between tasks with bivalent versus univalent responses. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Early online date24 Apr 2007
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2007


  • task switching
  • cognitive control
  • ERPs
  • P3
  • N1
  • contingent negative-variation
  • dynamic cognitive control
  • event-related potentials
  • brain potentials
  • intentional set
  • frontal lobes
  • attention
  • ERP
  • information
  • inhibition


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