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Whose turn is it anyway? The moderating role of response-execution certainty on the joint Simon effect

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Abstract

When a two-choice “Simon task” is distributed between two people, performance in the shared go/no-go task resembles performance in the whole task alone. This finding has been described as the joint Simon effect (JSE). Unlike the individual go/no-go task, not only is the typical joint Simon task shared with another person, but also the imperative stimuli dictate whose turn it is to respond. Therefore, in the current study, we asked whether removing the agent discrimination component of the joint Simon task influences co-representation. Participants performed the typical joint Simon task, which was compared to two turn-taking versions of the task. For these turn-taking tasks, pairs predictably alternated turns on consecutive trials, with their respective imperative stimulus presented either on 100% of their turns (fully predictable group) or on 83% of their turns (response-uncertainty group, 17% no-go catch trials). The JSE was absent in the fully predictable, turn-taking task, but emerged similarly under the response-uncertainty condition and the typical joint Simon task condition where there is both turn and response-execution-related uncertainty. These results demonstrate that conflict related to agent discrimination is likely not a critical factor driving the JSE, whereas conflict surrounding the need to execute a response (and hence the degree of preparation) appears fundamental to co-representation.

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Notes

  1. All three left-handed participants were female. One responded with her dominant left hand while the other two responded with their right hand.

  2. The erroneous responses to catch trials were distributed across the experiment, with 26 responses in Block 1 (33.3% of errors), 14 responses in Block 2 (18.0% of errors), 21 responses in Block 3 (26.9% of errors), and 17 responses in Block 4 (21.8% of errors).

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) award to NJH. We thank the Editor and two anonymous reviewers for their thought provoking comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Nicola J. Hodges.

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This study was funded by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada awarded to Hodges (RGPIN-2016-04269).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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

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Karlinsky, A., Lam, M.Y., Chua, R. et al. Whose turn is it anyway? The moderating role of response-execution certainty on the joint Simon effect. Psychological Research 83, 833–841 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0901-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0901-7

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