Choice reaction requires response conflict resolution, and the resolution processes that occur during a choice stepping reaction task undertaken in a standing position, which requires maintenance of balance, may be different to those processes occurring during a choice reaction task performed in a seated position. The study purpose was to investigate the resolution processes during a choice stepping reaction task at the cortical level using electroencephalography and compare the results with a control task involving ankle dorsiflexion responses. Twelve young adults either stepped forward or dorsiflexed the ankle in response to a visual imperative stimulus presented on a computer screen. We used the Simon task and examined the error-related negativity (ERN) that follows an incorrect response and the correct-response negativity (CRN) that follows a correct response. Error was defined as an incorrect initial weight transfer for the stepping task and as an incorrect initial tibialis anterior activation for the control task. Results revealed that ERN and CRN amplitudes were similar in size for the stepping task, whereas the amplitude of ERN was larger than that of CRN for the control task. The ERN amplitude was also larger in the stepping task than the control task. These observations suggest that a choice stepping reaction task involves a strategy emphasizing post-response conflict and general performance monitoring of actual and required responses and also requires greater cognitive load than a choice dorsiflexion reaction. The response conflict resolution processes appear to be different for stepping tasks and reaction tasks performed in a seated position.
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