This chapter discusses the early indexes of compatibility effects of cerebral evoked potentials. Stimulus-response compatibility effects stand at a crucial node between stimulus identification and response initiation. An evaluation of the global performance is classically given by two behavioral indexes, reaction time and error rate. Psychophysiological indexes of performance also can be used. Among these are cerebral electrophysiological potential variations that reflect brain operations as they proceed from the earliest stages of stimulus evaluation to motor programming, and thus are liable to give a more precise insight into the mechanisms involved. It is suggested that when the compatibility effects are not because of two conflicting aspects of the stimulus, then no P300 latency variations should be observed. The peak amplitude of each event-related potentials (ERP) component is a relevant parameter, usually interpreted as reflecting the amount of processing that goes on or the level of activation or motor preparation, depending on the component that is being studied. The scalp distribution of the various ERP components can help to identify and separate components that occur at very close time intervals. © 1990, Elsevier Science & Technology. All rights reserved.
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