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Stimulus processing is an essential cognitive process that plays a vital role in our decision making and task execution. Since stimulus processing has been shown to be an important factor in task performance and cognitive well-being, it is necessary to explore the relationship it has with other psychological variables related to performance, as well as assess ways in which stimulus processing may be enhanced. The authors hypothesized that self-efficacy (SE) may improve performance by enhancing stimulus processing during task completion. To test this hypothesis, we examined the relationships between SE, behavioral measures of task performance, and neural indices of stimulus processing during the completion of two sessions of a modified flanker task. Behavioral measures included response accuracy and response time (RT), and neural indices included the P3b, an event-related brain potential associated with stimulus processing. Results showed that higher SE was associated with greater response accuracy and P3b amplitude during task execution in the first session. After SE manipulation, results indicated a significant effect of the feedback manipulation on SE, but no significant influences on P3b, accuracy, reaction time, or changes in those measures across sessions. These findings suggest that SE is beneficially related to neural indices of stimulus processing, and improved stimulus processing may help explain the association between SE and improved task performance. However, our specific manipulations of task-related SE are not sufficient to significantly improve subsequent stimulus processing.



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