Stimulus-Response Compatibility and the Simon Effect: Toward a Conceptual Clarification

  • Hasbroucq T
  • Guiard Y
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The current view that the Simon effect (J. R. Simon and A. M. Small, 1969) reflects stimulus–response compatibility (SRC) is questioned. Previous accounts of the Simon effect have overlooked stimulus congruity (SC), the correspondence relation borne by the 2 simultaneous aspects of the stimulus, a factor inevitably confounded in the Simon paradigm with irrelevant spatial S–R correspondence. The Hedge and Marsh reversal effect, (A. Hedge and N. W. Marsh; see record 1976-08726-001) replicated in Exp 1, is reinterpreted as decisive evidence that the Simon effect is entirely accounted for by SC. Furthermore, in Exp 2 irrelevant S–R correspondence was manipulated in the absence of any variation of SC, and the Simon effect vanished. It is concluded that the Simon effect, contrary to current opinion, represents a spatial variant of the Stroop effect and is irrelevant to the SRC issue. The view that mental operations proceed automatically at the stage of response determination loses one of its strongest empirical arguments.

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