Increased spatial salience in the social Simon task: a response-coding account of spatial compatibility effects.Atten Percept Psychophys. 2012 Jul; 74(5):911-29.AP
A spatial compatibility effect (SCE) is typically observed in forced two-choice tasks in which a spatially defined response (e.g., pressing a left vs. a right key) has to be executed to a nonspatial feature of a stimulus (e.g., discriminating red from green) that is additionally connoted by a spatial feature (e.g., the stimulus points to the left or the right). Responses are faster and more accurate when the response side and the spatial stimulus feature are compatible than when they are incompatible. Previous research has demonstrated that SCEs are diminished when stimuli from only one response category are responded to in individual go/no-go tasks, whereas SCEs reemerge when two participants work jointly on two complementary, individual go/no-go tasks in a joint go/no-go task setting. This social Simon effect has been considered evidence for shared task representations. We show that SCEs emerge in individual go/no-go tasks when the spatial dimension is made more salient, whereas SCEs are eliminated in joint go/no-go tasks when the spatial dimension is made less salient. These findings are consistent with an account of social Simon effects in terms of spatial response coding, whereas they are inconsistent with an account of shared task representations. The relevance of social factors for spatial response coding is discussed.