Event-related potentials were used to investigate neural processes relating perceptual similarity to action control. To assess whether perceptual overlap among targets and nontargets would modulate the N2/P3 complex, the present study used multiple nontarget categories varying in their targetlike characteristics. Participants made one (relatively rare) response to a low-probability stimulus (target), and they made a different (relatively common) response to all other stimuli (nontargets). The critical nontarget categories had equivalent probability (.10) but varied in their targetlike characteristics. Supporting the N2 component as sensitive to the strength of conflicting action imperatives, perceptual overlap among targets and nontargets elicited a prominent N2. In contrast, amplitude of the P3 component appeared most sensitive to the extent of cognitive processing needed for categorization. Descriptors: ERPs, Event-related potentials, P3, N2, Choice RT, Perceptual similarity, Categorization, Conflict monitoring Pursuing any particular course of action requires overcoming competing tendencies triggered by the many cues typically present in one’s thoughts and environment. A motorist who needs to turn left at North Nitch Street but not North Hitc
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