Dissociation of S-R Compatibility and Simon Effects With Mixed Tasks and Mappings

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Binary-choice reactions are typically faster when the stimulus location corresponds with that of the response than when it does not. This advantage of spatial correspondence is known as the stimulus-response compatibility (SRC) effect when the mapping of stimulus location, as the relevant stimulus dimension, is varied to be compatible or incompatible with response location. It is called the Simon effect when stimulus location is task-irrelevant. The SRC effect is eliminated when compatible and incompatible spatial mappings are mixed within a trial block, and the Simon effect is eliminated when the Simon task is mixed with the SRC task with incompatible spatial mapping. Eliminations of both types have been attributed to suppression of an automatic response-activation route. We tested predictions of this suppression hypothesis for conditions in which the SRC and Simon tasks were intermixed and the spatial mappings on the SRC trials could be compatible or incompatible. In Experiment 1, the two tasks were equally likely, as were compatible and incompatible spatial mappings on SRC trials; in Experiment 2, the SRC or Simon task was more frequent; and, in Experiment 3, the compatible or incompatible location mapping for the SRC task was more frequent. The SRC effect was absent overall in all experiments, whereas the Simon effect was robust to the manipulations and showed the characteristic decrease across the reaction time (RT) distribution. This dissociation of effects implies that the automatic response-activation route is not suppressed in mixed conditions and suggests that mixing influences the SRC and Simon effects by different means.


Published In

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39, 2, 593-609.