Stimulus-response compatibility for absolute and relative spatial correspondence in reaching and in button pressing

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Three experiments tested whether stimulus-response (S-R) compatibility might be a function of absolute (as opposed to relative) spatial correspondence-that is, the distance between a stimulus and the place of response. Experiment 1 studied reaching movements toward one of two targets in response to one of six visual stimuli. Stimulus-response pairs that shared relative position were faster than those that did not, and reaction time was faster when the stimulus and one of the potential targets were in close proximity. In Experiment 2 the same effects were found when the hands started from a different position, implicating stimulus target distance, rather than stimulus-hand distance as the critical variable. Experiment 3 employed keypress responses instead of reaches, and the distance effect was nearly absent. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of categorical (e.g. left-right) vs. quantitative (e.g. distance) S-R variables in spatial compatibility.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2000

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