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01-01-2007 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2007

Psychological Research 1/2007

Feature integration across perception and action: event files affect response choice

Psychological Research > Uitgave 1/2007
Bernhard Hommel


Five experiments investigated the spontaneous integration of stimulus and response features. Participants performed simple, prepared responses (R1) to the mere presence of Go signals (S1) before carrying out another, freely chosen response (R2) to another stimulus (S2), the main question being whether the likelihood of repeating a response depends on whether or not the stimulus, or some of its features, are repeated. Indeed, participants were more likely to repeat the previous response if stimulus form or color was repeated than if it was alternated. The same was true for stimulus location, but only if location was made task-relevant, whether by defining the response set in terms of location, by requiring the report of S2 location, or by having S1 to be selected against a distractor. These findings suggest that task-relevant stimulus and response features are spontaneously integrated into independent, local event files, each linking one stimulus to one response feature. Upon reactivation of one member of the binary link activation is spread to the other, thereby increasing the likelihood to repeat a response if one or more stimulus features are repeated. These findings support the idea that both perceptual events and action plans are cognitively represented in terms of their features, and that feature-integration processes cross borders between perception and action.

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