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01-09-2011 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2011

Psychological Research 5/2011

Trial-to-trial sequential dependencies in a social and non-social Simon task

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2011
Roman Liepelt, Dorit Wenke, Rico Fischer, Wolfgang Prinz
Belangrijke opmerkingen
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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