Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Inverting the Joint Simon Effect by Intention

Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Inverting the Joint Simon Effect by Intention

Article excerpt

Published online: 21 June 2012

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2012

Abstract The joint Simon effect (JSE) is a spatial-compatibility effect that emerges when two people complete complementary components of a Simon task. In typical JSE studies, two participants sit beside each other and perform go- no-go tasks in which they respond to one of two stimuli by pressing a button. According to the action co-representation account, JSEs emerge because each participant represents their partner's response in addition to their own, causing the same conflicts in processing that would occur if an individual responded to both stimuli (i.e., as in a two-choice task). Because the response buttons are typically in front of participants, however, an alternative explanation is that JSEs are the result of a dimensional overlap between target and response locations coded with respect to another salient object (e.g., the co-actor's effector). To contrast these hypotheses, the participants in the present study completed two-choice and joint Simon tasks in which they were asked to focus on generating an aftereffect in the space contralateral to their response. Hommel (Psychological Research 55:270-279, 1993) previously reported that, when participants completed a two-choice task under such effect-focused instructions, spatial-compatibility effects emerged that were based on the aftereffect location instead of the response location. Consistent with the co-representation account, the results of the present study were that an inverse aftereffect-based (i.e., not a respon-selocation- based) compatibility effect was observed in both the two-choice and joint tasks. The overall pattern of results does not fit with the spatial-coding account and is discussed in the context of the extant JSE literature.

Keywords Social cognition . Motor planning/ programming . Stimulus-response compatibility

Humans often perform tasks in which multiple people work together toward common goals. Through these joint actions, humans can achieve goals that would be difficult to accomplish when acting alone. Movement planning during joint action is more complex, however, because the co-actors need to coordinate their behaviors. One process thought to facilitate this coordination is action co-representation-a process wherein individuals develop a representation of their co-actor's action plan (Sebanz & Knoblich, 2009). It is thought that by representing the co-actor's responses, individuals are able to plan their own movements cohesively with those of their co-actor. Several experimental methods have been used to gain insight into joint action and action co-representation (Ray & Welsh, 2011; van der Wel, Knoblich & Sebanz, 2011; Welsh et al., 2005). One method that is frequently used in this exploration is the joint Simon task (Sebanz, Knoblich & Prinz, 2003).

The joint Simon task was designed to explore how coactors' actions influence an individual's response selection. In Sebanz et al.'s (2003) studies, participants executed leftand right buttonpresses in response to green and red rings, respectively (relevant color stimulus dimension). The rings were presented on the index finger of a hand that pointed to the leftor right, or was neutral (irrelevant spatial stimulus dimension). Compatible trials were defined as those in which the finger pointed to the same side of space as the response indicated by the ring color (e.g., green ring on a left-pointing finger). On incompatible trials, the finger pointed to the side of space opposite the one indicated by the color (e.g., green ring on a right-pointing finger). Participants completed three main tasks. In the two-choice task, they completed the task alone and were responsible for making responses to both color stimuli. In the individual go-no-go task, they completed the task alone but only responded to one color (e.g., green) by executing only one response (e.g., left). They were to withhold their response when the alternative color (e. …

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