The central hypothesis of the Dual Mechanisms of Cognitive Control (DMC) framework is that cognitive control operates via two distinct operating modes – proactive control and reactive control.  The proactive control mode can be conceptualized as a form of “early selection,” in which goal-relevant information is actively maintained in a sustained manner, prior to the occurrence of cognitively demanding events, in order to optimally bias attention, perception and action systems in a goal-driven manner. In contrast, in reactive control, attention is recruited as a “late correction” mechanism that is mobilized only as needed in a just-in-time manner, such as after a high interference event is detected. Thus, proactive control relies upon the anticipation and prevention of interference before it occurs, whereas reactive control relies upon the detection and resolution of interference after its onset.

This work is supported by NIH grant R37MH066078