Learning at any rate: action–effect learning for stimulus-based actions
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Recent studies reported converging evidence for action–effect associations if participants adopted an intention-based action control mode in free choice conditions, whereas no evidence for action–effect associations was found when participants adopted a stimulus-based mode in forced choice conditions. However, it is not yet clear whether action control modes moderate acquisition or usage of action–effect associations. In the present experiment, two groups of participants underwent an acquisition phase consisting of either free or forced choice key presses that produced irrelevant, but contingent effect tones. In a subsequent test phase, participants freely chose the key to press after former effect tones were presented. A reliable consistency effect resulted for both the groups, i.e. participants preferred the key that produced the irrelevant tone in the preceding acquisition phase. In combination with prior findings, this consistency effect suggests that usage, but not acquisition of action–effect associations depends on an intention-based action control mode.