Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Does Irrelevant Stimulus Location Affect Response Selection?

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Does Irrelevant Stimulus Location Affect Response Selection?

Article excerpt

Does irrelevant stimulus location affect response selection?

Abstract Reaction time (RT) is shorter when the irrelevant location of the stimu lus corresponds to the relevant location of the response: When a subject is to p erform a left or right keypress according to the colour of a stimulus delivered either to the left or to the right of a fixation, RT is typically shorter when t he location of the stimulus corresponds to the location of the response (e.g., l eft stimulus/left response) than when it does not (e.g., left stimulus/right res ponse). Umilta and Nicoletti (1990) have suggested that this effect, known as th e 'Simon effect' in the literature, occurred at the response selection stage, a stage whose duration depends on the effectors used to perform the task. In the p resent study, this effect and that of the finger response repertoire (within-ver sus between-hand composition) were found to be additive, which does not support the response selection hypothesis of the Simon effect.

Resume Le temps de reponse (TR) est plus court lorsque l'emplacement non pertine nt du stimulus correspond a l'emplacement pertinent de la reponse. Lorsqu'un suj et doit appuyer sur un point de controle gauche/droit selon la couleur d'un stim ulus presente a gauche ou a droite d'un point reference fixe, le TR est typiquem ent plus court lorsque l'emplacement du stimulus correspond a l'emplacement de l a reponse (par exemple, stimulus gauche, reponse gauche) que lorsqu'il n'y corre spond pas (p. ex. stimulus gauche, reponse droite). Umilta et Nicoletti (1990) o nt suggere que cet effet, designe dans la litterature scientifique sous le nom d 'effet Simon, se produit a l'etape de la selection de la reponse, se produit a l'etape de la selection de la reponse, une etape dont la duree est tributaire d es effecteurs utilises lors de ces tests. On a constate dans la presente etude q ue cet effet et celui du repertoire de reponse au niveau des doigts (c.-a-d. la composition d'une seule main ou ayant recours a l'interaction des deux mains) et aient additifs, ce qui va a l'encontre de la theorie de selection de reponse imp licite a l'effet Simon.

Spatial stimulus-response (S-R) compatibility refers to the strong dependence of choice reaction time (RT) on the correspondence between the respective location s of stimuli and responses. A simple manipulation of spatial S-R compatibility c onsists of varying the mapping of the stimulus set onto the response set (Fitts & Deininger, 1954). For instance, when the subjects have to choose between a lef t-and a right-hand key press according to the lateral location of a sensory stim ulus presented either to the left or to the right of a fixation, the ipsilateral S-R mapping instruction leads to a shorter reaction time (RT) than the contrala teral one. According to widespread opinion, a paradigm introduced by Simon and R udell (1967) also allows the manipulation of spatial S-R compatibility. In a vis ual version of this paradigm, the subjects have to choose between a left-and a r ight-hand keypress according to the colour of a stimulus, whose irrelevant later al location is varied: RT is substantially shorter when the irrelevant spatial l ocation of the stimulus corresponds to that of the response than when it does no t.

There is a current debate as to whether the Simon effect reflects the same cogni tive mechanism as the effect of S-R mapping (Hasbroucq & Guiard, 1991; Kornblum, Hasbroucq, & Osman, 1990). Because the effect of S-R mapping has repeatedly bee n found additive with the effects of stimulus and response variables (cf. Sander s, 1990), it can be assigned to the stage of S-R translation, which in the class ic decomposition of RT is located between the perceptual and motor stages (e.g., van der Molen, Bashore, Halliday, & Callaway, 1991). In contrast, several resul ts are difficult to reconcile with the idea that the Simon effect affects S-R tr anslation. First, the Simon effect is additive with the effects of number of res ponse alternatives (Stoffels, van der Molen, & Keuss, 1989) and S-R mapping (Has broucq & Guiard, 1991; Ragot & Guiard, 1992), two variables whose effect on S-R translation cannot be questioned (Sanders, 1990). …

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