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01-11-2012 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2012

Psychological Research 6/2012

Correlations between spatial compatibility effects: are arrows more like locations or words?

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 6/2012
Auteurs:
James D. Miles, Robert W. Proctor
Belangrijke opmerkingen
An erratum to this article can be found at http://​dx.​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-011-0400-1.

Abstract

Responses are more efficient when their spatial mappings with features of targets are compatible compared to when they are incompatible, even when those features are irrelevant to task performance. Currently, a debate exists as to whether spatial information conveyed by different stimulus modes leads to qualitatively different spatial representations. We investigated the relations between three of the most commonly used spatial stimulus modes—arrows, locations, and location words—using correlations of compatibility effects between each of these modes as well as compatibility effects at different segments of their response time distributions. Our results show that when spatial information is irrelevant to task performance (the Simon task), the compatibility effects elicited by arrows and words are more strongly related with each other than with those of locations. However, when spatial information is task relevant (the stimulus–response compatibility SRC task), the compatibility effects elicited by arrows and locations are more related, and both are less related to the effect elicited by words. We suggest that these changing relations between stimulus modes are strategically determined based on which spatial coding technique for arrows is most advantageous to task performance. Furthermore, the varying relations between these spatial compatibility effects indicate that the compatibility effect with one stimulus mode is not always predictive of the compatibility effect in another mode.

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