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The authors wish to thank Julia Haupt for help with data acquisition, Bernhard Hommel, Birte Forstmann and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript.
Recent research has shown that joint-action effects in a social Simon task provide a good index of action co-representation. The present study aimed to specify the mechanisms underlying joint action by considering trial-to-trial transitions. Using non-social stimuli, we assigned a Simon task to two participants. Each was responsible for only one of two possible responses. This task was performed alone (Individual go/nogo task) and in cooperation with another person who was sitting alongside (Joint go/nogo task). As a further control task, we added a Standard Simon task. Replicating previous findings (Sebanz et al. in Cognition 88:B11–B21, 2003), we found no spatial compatibility effect in the Individual go/nogo task but we did find one in the Joint go/nogo task. A more detailed analysis showed that a sequential modulation of the Simon effect was present in both the Joint and the Individual go/nogo tasks. We found reliable Simon effects in trials following Simon compatible trials not only in the Joint go/nogo task but also to a somewhat smaller extent in the Individual go/nogo task. For both these go/nogo tasks, sequential modulation effects were stronger for nogo/go transitions than for go/go transitions. This suggests that low-level feature binding and repetition mechanisms contribute to the social Simon effect related to the specific requirement not to respond on nogo trials.
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- Trial-to-trial sequential dependencies in a social and non-social Simon task