Conflict Control Loop Theory of Cognitive Control

Marie K. Krug, Cameron S Carter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter explores the conflict control loop theory of cognitive control, a mechanistic framework that helps explain the behavioral and neural mechanisms that are engaged due to conflict from distracters and the subsequent control and recovery these mechanisms enable. The first section illustrates the conflict control loop theory by describing the typical behavioral effects in response conflict tasks; these tasks provide well-studied paradigms in which conflict and cognitive control reliably occur. This is followed by a review of extensive neuroimaging evidence regarding the neural circuitry involved in these behavioral manifestations of conflict and subsequent cognitive control. Next, it investigates how conflict control loop theory can account for distraction from emotionally laden stimuli. Finally, conflict control loop theory is related to complementary theories of decision making and cognitive control strategy, demonstrating the robustness and generalizability of this theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Neuroscience of Attention: Attentional Control and Selection
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199932283, 9780195334364
StatePublished - May 24 2012


  • Cognitive control
  • Conflict loop theory
  • Decision making
  • Distraction
  • Emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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