Transfer of incompatible spatial mapping to the vertical Simon task generalizes across effectors but not stimulus features

Qi Zhong, Robert W. Proctor, Aiping Xiong, Kim Phuong L. Vu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


For the vertical Simon task, in which stimuli and responses are arrayed along the vertical dimension and stimulus location is irrelevant, a Simon effect (benefit for stimulus-response correspondence) is typically obtained. Results have been mixed about whether performing fewer than 100 trials of a spatially incompatible mapping prior to a Simon task reduces or eliminates this vertical Simon effect in a transfer session. Several reasons have been suggested to explain why previous studies show disparate results. Previously, we ruled out orientation of the response panel in the transverse or horizontal plane as a critical factor. The present experiments evaluated two other possible factors: finger/hand placement and relevant stimulus dimension. In Experiment 1, we found reduction of the vertical Simon effect for a circle-square discrimination after incompatible practice using a separate numeric keypad as the response device, regardless of whether the keypad was placed on a table and operated by index fingers or held in the hands and operated by thumbs. In Experiment 2, we replicated the reduction for the circle-square discrimination but found no evidence of reduction for a red-green color discrimination. Overall, our results suggest that the relevant discrimination of red-green color versus circle-square shape is responsible for the discrepancy in results across prior studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


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