Dispersed multipump-probe (PPP) spectroscopy was used to explore the role of saturation, annihilation, and structured pulses in recent coherent control experiments on the light-harvesting 2 complex from Rhodopseudomonas acidophila (Herek et al. Nature 2002, 417, 533). We discuss the complimentary aspects between the PPP technique and coherent control studies, in particular the ability to dissect complicated pulse structures and the utility in exploring incoherent mechanisms. With the aid of a simple multistate model involving only population dynamics, we illustrate how the optimized structured pulses may be explained in terms of an interplay between excited-state populations, saturation, and annihilation. Furthermore, we discuss the experimental conditions that are required for incoherent effects to contribute to control experimental signals, with particular emphasis on pulse intensities, and show that the optimization of a ratio of conservative signals (i.e., not modulated by external dynamics) is required to exclude saturation effects from coherent control studies. © 2006 American Chemical Society.