The benefit of no choice: goal-directed plans enhance perceptual processing
- 560 Downloads
Choosing among different options is costly. Typically, response times are slower if participants can choose between several alternatives (free-choice) compared to when a stimulus determines a single correct response (forced-choice). This performance difference is commonly attributed to additional cognitive processing in free-choice tasks, which require time-consuming decisions between response options. Alternatively, the forced-choice advantage might result from facilitated perceptual processing, a prediction derived from the framework of implementation intentions. This hypothesis was tested in three experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 were PRP experiments and showed the expected underadditive interaction of the SOA manipulation and task type, pointing to a pre-central perceptual origin of the performance difference. Using the additive-factors logic, Experiment 3 further supported this view. We discuss the findings in the light of alternative accounts and offer potential mechanisms underlying performance differences in forced- and free-choice tasks.
This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation), grant JA 2307/1-1 awarded to Markus Janczyk. The co-authors were supported by the DFG research unit FOR 1882 Psychoeconomics. We thank Arvid Herwig for many helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript.
- Bieleke, M., Dambacher, M., Hübner, R., & Gollwitzer, P.M. (2013). A sequential sampling model account of implementation intention effects. Manuscript in preparation.Google Scholar
- Gollwitzer, P. M., Wieber, F., Meyers, A. L., & McCrea, S. M. (2010). How to maximize implementation intention effects. In C. R. Agnew, D. E. Carlston, W. G. Graziano, & J. R. Kelly (Eds.), Then a miracle occurs: focusing on behavior in social psychological theory and research (pp. 137–161). New York: Oxford Press.Google Scholar
- Janczyk, M., Nolden, S., & Jolicoeur, P. (2014). No difference in dual-task costs between forced- and free-choice tasks. Manuscript in revision.Google Scholar
- Prinz, W. (1998). Die Reaktion als Willenshandlung. Psychologische Rundschau, 49, 10–20.Google Scholar
- Welford, A. T. (1951). The “psychological refractory period” and the timing of high-speed performance: a review and a theory. British Journal of Psychology, 43, 2–19.Google Scholar