Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 233, Issue 11, pp 3313–3321 | Cite as

Influence of short incompatible practice on the Simon effect: transfer along the vertical dimension and across vertical and horizontal dimensions

  • Erick F. Q. Conde
  • Roberto Sena Fraga-Filho
  • Allan Pablo LameiraEmail author
  • Daniel C. Mograbi
  • Lucia Riggio
  • Luiz G. Gawryszewski
Research Article


In spatial compatibility and Simon tasks, the response is faster when stimulus and response locations are on the same side than when they are on opposite sides. It has been shown that a spatial incompatible practice leads to a subsequent modulation of the Simon effect along the horizontal dimension. It has also been reported that this modulation occurs both along and across vertical and horizontal dimensions, but only after intensive incompatible training (600 trials). In this work, we show that this modulatory effect can be obtained with a smaller number of incompatible trials, changing the spatial arrangement of the vertical response keys to obtain a stronger dimensional overlap between the spatial codes of stimuli and response keys. The results of Experiment 1 showed that 80 incompatible vertical trials abolished the Simon effect in the same dimension. Experiment 2 showed that a modulation of the vertical Simon effect could be obtained after 80 horizontal incompatible trials. Experiment 3 explored whether the transfer effect can also occur in a horizontal Simon task after a brief vertical spatial incompatibility task, and results were similar to the previous experiments. In conclusion, we suggest that the spatial arrangement between response key and stimulus locations may be critical to establish the short-term memory links that enable the transfer of learning between brief incompatible practices and the Simon effects, both along the vertical dimension and across vertical and horizontal dimensions.


Spatial compatibility Simon effect Transfer of learning Dimensional overlap Short-term memory 



Research financially supported by: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq): Proc. 450588/2009-2, Proc. 309544/2009-2, Proc. 483611/2009-3, Proc. 455353/2012-3, Proc. 312189/2012-5, Proc. 478834/2013-6, PIBIC/UFF/CNPq, PIBITI/UFF/CNPq. Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES): Proc. AEX 1249/13-4, PROAP/CAPES/UFF. Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ): Edital FAPERJ no. 06/2013 (Pró-idoso)—Proc. 110.079/2013, E-26/101.958/2010, E-26/101.061/2011, E-26/100.661/2013, E-26/102.160/2013. Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa, Pós-graduação e Inovação da Universidade Federal Fluminense: FOPESQ/PROPPi/UFF.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have not conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erick F. Q. Conde
    • 1
  • Roberto Sena Fraga-Filho
    • 2
  • Allan Pablo Lameira
    • 3
    • 7
    Email author
  • Daniel C. Mograbi
    • 4
    • 5
  • Lucia Riggio
    • 6
  • Luiz G. Gawryszewski
    • 2
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-graduação em PsicologiaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-graduação em Neurociências, Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Federal FluminenseNiteróiBrazil
  3. 3.Unidade Acadêmica Ciências da VidaUniversidade Federal de Campina GrandeCajazeirasBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de PsicologiaPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  5. 5.Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and NeuroscienceKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  6. 6.Dipartimento di NeuroscienzeUniversità di ParmaParmaItaly
  7. 7.Centro de Formação de Professores–Unidade Acadêmica Ciências da VidaUniversidade Federal de Campina GrandeCajazeirasBrazil

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