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Recent findings indicate that the shape of the effect function of the Simon effect—derived by analysing the response time distribution for corresponding and non-corresponding trials—differs depending on the task. Specifically, decreasing effect functions have been reported for horizontal and stable rather increasing effect functions have been obtained for vertical stimulus–response (S–R) relations. Furthermore, it has been assumed that these differences reflect distinct mechanisms underlying the Simon effect. However, in two studies decreasing effect functions were reported for the vertical dimension. In order to investigate these contradictory findings four experiments were conducted. Since both studies—in which a decreasing effect function was obtained—used a modified version of the Simon task, that is, randomly varying S–R mapping rules, the Simon effect for fixed and random S–R mapping rules was investigated using vertical (Experiments 1, 2, and 4) and horizontal (Experiment 3) S–R relations. The results indicate that randomly varying S–R mapping rules affect the shape of the effect function for vertical but not for horizontal S–R relations. It was concluded that these findings indicate that the alternation of S–R mapping rules changes the information processing for the vertical dimension in a way, that the same mechanism as for horizontal S–R relations occurs.
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- The Simon effect for vertical S–R relations: changing the mechanism by randomly varying the S–R mapping rule?