Dissociations of spatial congruence effects across response measures: an examination of delta plots.
Miller J., Roüast NM.
Spatial congruence ("Simon") effects on reaction time (RT) and response force (RF) were studied in two experiments requiring speeded choice responses to the color of a stimulus located irrelevantly to the left or right of fixation. In Experiment 1 with unimanual responses, both RT and incorrect-hand RF were sensitive to spatial congruence, and both showed larger Simon effects following a congruent trial than following an incongruent one. RT and incorrect-hand RF were dissociated in distributional (i.e., delta plot) analyses, however. As in previous studies, the Simon effect on RT was largest for the fastest responses and diminished as RT increased (i.e., decreasing delta plot). In contrast, Simon effects on RF did not decrease for slower responses; if anything, they increased slightly. In Experiment 2 participants made bimanual responses, allowing measurement of the spatial congruence effect for each trial. Responses were both faster and more forceful with the spatially congruent hand than with the spatially incongruent one, but neither of these effects decreased for slower responses. Overall, the results demonstrate that at least some motor-level effects of irrelevant spatial location persist for slower responses.