Asymmetries in a unilateral flanker task depend on the direction of the response: The role of attentional shift and perceptual grouping

Jörn Diedrichsen*, Richard B. Ivry, Asher Cohen, Shai Danziger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four experiments were conducted using a flanker task with 1 distractor appearing either on the left or right side of a central target. Responses were made on a keyboard aligned parallel to the displays. A larger flanker effect was obtained when the distractor was on the same side as the response. Two factors account for this asymmetry. First, when the flanker and target are identical, the 2 form a group that is assigned a spatial tag, creating a form of the Simon effect on the basis of the compatibility between the response keys and the group. Second, preparation of a lateralized response appears to entail a shift of visual attention in the corresponding direction, thus enhancing processing of the flanker on the response side. Consistent with the 2nd hypothesis, participants were more likely to correctly recognize letters that were briefly presented at the distractor position on the same side as the response.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)113-126
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000

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