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16-02-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2019

Psychological Research 2/2019

Response preparation, response selection difficulty, and response-outcome learning

Psychological Research > Uitgave 2/2019
Greg Huffman, Davood G. Gozli, Bernhard Hommel, Jay Pratt


Voluntary action control is accomplished through anticipating that action’s perceptual outcomes. Some evidence suggests that this is only true when responses are intention-based rather than stimulus-based and that this difference is evidence of different response modes. More recently, however, it has been shown that response-outcome retrieval effects can occur with stimulus-based responses, and that the retrieval depended on response selection efficiency as decreasing the response selection efficiency increased response-outcome retrieval (Gozli et al., J Exp Psychol: Hum Percept Perform, 2016). We look to extend this finding by manipulating response selection difficulty within (Experiment 1) or between blocks (Experiment 2) and response preparation time (Experiment 1) within an experiment. Individuals completed a task in which they responded to onsets using the spatially corresponding finger. The onset was preceded by precues narrowing down the response possibilities from four to two. The response possibilities were either on the same hand or different hands, such that response selection was easy or hard. We also varied the amount of time between the cues and the targets to manipulate response preparation time. The results indicated that trial-by-trial manipulations of response selection difficulty did not influence response-outcome retrieval, but that the between groups manipulation of response preparation time did. With less time response preparation time, larger response-outcome compatibility effects were found. This study presents further evidence that response selection efficiency can influence response-outcome retrieval and that this difference can be accounted for in terms of how prepared the responses are at the time of target presentation.

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