The Task-Relevant Attribute Representation Can Mediate the Simon EffectReport as inadecuate

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Researchers have previously suggested a working memory WM account of spatial codes, and based on this suggestion, the present study carries out three experiments to investigate how the task-relevant attribute representation verbal or visual in the typical Simon task affects the Simon effect. Experiment 1 compared the Simon effect between the between- and within-category color conditions, which required subjects to discriminate between red and blue stimuli presumed to be represented by verbal WM codes because it was easy and fast to name the colors verbally and to discriminate between two similar green stimuli presumed to be represented by visual WM codes because it was hard and time-consuming to name the colors verbally, respectively. The results revealed a reliable Simon effect that only occurs in the between-category condition. Experiment 2 assessed the Simon effect by requiring subjects to discriminate between two different isosceles trapezoids within-category shapes and to discriminate isosceles trapezoid from rectangle between-category shapes, and the results replicated and expanded the findings of Experiment 1. In Experiment 3, subjects were required to perform both tasks from Experiment 1. Wherein, in Experiment 3A, the between-category task preceded the within-category task; in Experiment 3B, the task order was opposite. The results showed the reliable Simon effect when subjects represented the task-relevant stimulus attributes by verbal WM encoding. In addition, the response times RTs distribution analysis for both the between- and within-category conditions of Experiments 3A and 3B showed decreased Simon effect with the RTs lengthened. Altogether, although the present results are consistent with the temporal coding account, we put forth that the Simon effect also depends on the verbal WM representation of task-relevant stimulus attribute.

Author: Dandan Tang , Xiao Zhao , Antao Chen



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