, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 1457-1471
Date: 14 Jun 2011

Stimulus–response bindings code both abstract and specific representations of stimuli: evidence from a classification priming design that reverses multiple levels of response representation

Abstract

Repetition priming can be caused by the rapid retrieval of previously encoded stimulus–response (S–R) bindings. S–R bindings have recently been shown to simultaneously code multiple levels of response representation, from specific Motor-actions to more abstract Decisions (“yes”/”no”) and Classifications (e.g., “man-made”/”natural”). Using an experimental design that reverses responses at all of these levels, we assessed whether S–R bindings also code multiple levels of stimulus representation. Across two experiments, we found effects of response reversal on priming when switching between object pictures and object names, consistent with S–R bindings that code stimuli at an abstract level. Nonetheless, the size of this reversal effect was smaller for such across-format (e.g., word–picture) repetition than for within-format (e.g., picture–picture) repetition, suggesting additional coding of format-specific stimulus representations. We conclude that S–R bindings simultaneously represent both stimuli and responses at multiple levels of abstraction.