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22-07-2017 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2019

Psychological Research 5/2019

Binding abstract concepts

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2019
Tarini Singh, Christian Frings, Birte Moeller


Binding theories assume that a stimulus and the response made to it are bound together in an event file (Hommel et al., Behav Brain Sci 24(05):849–937, 2001). Such bindings can occur even after single encounters. If the stimulus or parts of its features are repeated within the time frame in which the event file is still intact, the previously integrated response is retrieved. Stimulus–response binding can exist at a perceptual, conceptual or a response selection level (Henson et al., Trends Cogn Sci 18(7):376–384, 2014). The current experiments test whether the observed binding of concepts with responses can be extended from concrete to abstract concepts (detailedness) and whether abstract concepts can retrieve the previous response, in the absence of perceptual repetition. In the present experiment participants responded to a target feature (colour) while the detailedness of the stimulus was irrelevant to the task. The results showed a significant interaction of response relation and detailedness relation, even in the absence of perceptual repetition. This interaction is interpreted as evidence for response-retrieval due to abstract concept repetition. Thus, our data suggest a broader impact of binding mechanism on performance as even abstract concepts can be integrated into event-files and later modulate behaviour.

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