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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2002 Dec;28(6):1345-63.

Control over location-based response activation in the Simon task: behavioral and electrophysiological evidence.

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Biological Psychology/Psychophysiology, Institute for Psychology, Humboldt-University at Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


In 4 Simon experiments the authors examined control over 2 routes of sensorimotor processing: response priming in the unconditional route and response selection via the conditional route. The Simon effect diminished as the frequency of noncorresponding trials increased. Location-based response priming was observed only when the stimulus followed a corresponding event but not after a noncorresponding trial. Therefore, the unconditional route appears to be suppressed whenever the task context indicates priming as potentially disadvantageous. Moreover, the task-irrelevant stimulus location was used for response selection as a function of correspondence probability. Although exact repetitions of stimulus-response sequences caused a marked speed-up of responses, this 3rd mechanism is independent of unconditional route suppression and frequency-based adjustments in the conditional route.

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