Predictability influences stopping and response control.


Using a continuous tracking task, the authors examined whether stopping is resistant to expectancies as well as whether it is a representative measure of response control. Participants controlled the speed of a moving marker by continuously adjusting their response force. Participants stopped their ongoing tracking in response to auditory signals on 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of trials. Stopping was contrasted with accelerating, in which participants accelerated the marker in response to the signals. In Experiment 1, on each trial participants either stopped or accelerated, allowing a trade-off between the two. In Experiments 2 and 3, participants only stopped or only accelerated, thus decreasing the likelihood of a trade-off. When a trade-off was possible, stopping was resistant to expectancies. However, with little or no trade-off, expectancies influenced stopping and accelerating similarly. These findings contrast with the established view that stopping is insensitive to expectancies. In addition, when trade-offs are prevented, these results confirm that stopping is representative of other response adjustment measures.