Validity and boundary conditions of automatic response activation in the Simon task

Edmund Wascher*, Thomas Kuder, Ulf Schatz, Rolf Verleger

*Corresponding author for this work


Three experiments were conducted to determine whether spatial stimulus-response compatibility effects are caused by automatic response activation by stimulus properties or by interference between codes during translation of stimulus into response coordinates. The main evidence against activation has been that in a Simon task with hands crossed, responses are faster at the response location ipsilateral to the stimulus though manipulated by the hand contralateral to the stimulus. The experiments were conducted with hands in standard and in crossed positions and electroencephalogram measures showed coactivation of the motor cortex induced by stimulus position primarily during standard hand positions with visual stimuli. Only in this condition did the Simon effect decay with longer response times. The visual Simon effect appeared to be due to specific mechanisms of visuomotor information transmission that are not responsible for the effects obtained with crossed hands or auditory stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)731-751
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2001

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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