Referential coding of steering-wheel button presses in a simulated driving cockpit

Aiping Xiong, Robert W. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The present study investigated whether left and right pushbuttons on a steering wheel are coded relative to an "infotainment display" in a simulated driving cockpit. Participants performed a go/no-go Simon task in which they responded on trials for which a tone, presented from a left or right speaker, was 1 of 2 pitches (low or high) with a single button press (left in 1 trial block; right in another). Without the infotainment display in Experiment 1, both left and right responses showed Simon effects of similar size. In both Experiments 2 and 3, the infotainment display was located to the right or left, and the Simon effect was smaller for the response that was on the side of the infotainment display than for the response that was on the opposite side. The results indicate that in a driving cockpit environment, the pushbutton responses are coded as left and right with respect not only to the wheel-based frame but also to a salient object like the infotainment display. The general point for application is that the driver's spatial representation of responses, and consequently performance, can be influenced by multiple frames of reference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-428
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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