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Ideomotor compatibility enables automatic response selection.

Maquestiaux, François; Lyphout-Spitz, Morgan; Ruthruff, Eric; Arexis, Mahé.
Psychon Bull Rev ; 27(4): 742-750, 2020 Aug.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32323163
A task is ideomotor (IM)-compatible when there is high conceptual similarity between the stimulus and the associated response (e.g., pressing a left key when an arrow points to the left). For such an easy task, can response selection operate automatically, bypassing the attentional bottleneck that normally constrains dual-task performance? To address this question, we manipulated the IM compatibility of a Task 2 that was performed concurrently with a non-IM-compatible Task 1, using the psychological refractory period procedure. Single-task trials, randomly intermixed with dual-task trials, served as a baseline against which to assess dual-task costs. The results indicated bottleneck bypassing (i.e., simultaneous response selection on both tasks) when Task 2 was IM-compatible, as evidenced by negligible dual-task costs on Task 2 (as well as on Task 1), very high percentages of response reversals, and weak correlations between Task-1 and Task-2 reaction times. These findings were supported by a fine-grained simulation analysis of inter-response intervals. We conclude that the perception of an IM-compatible stimulus directly activates the response code, which can then be selecting automatically, without recruiting central attention, consistent with A. G. Greenwald's (Journal of Experimental Psychology, 94, 52-57, 1972) original theory of IM compatibility.