Task rule-congruency and Simon-like effects in switching between spatial tasks

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In task switching, a response indicated as correct by both task rules is executed more quickly than one for which the rules disagree. This rule-congruency, so far demonstrated unequivocally only in nonspatial tasks, shows that the currently irrelevant task set is kept active. However, in spatial task-switching, rule-congruency could potentially reflect a preexperimental tendency that contributes to a Simon-like effect. In the present study, participants switched between RIGHT-LEFT and UP-DOWN tasks with either a standard key arrangement (e.g., upper key = UP) or a mapping-reversed arrangement (e.g., up = DOWN), which reverses the direction of the potential Simon-like effect but leaves potential rule-congruency effects unchanged. Mapping-reversal did not modulate any other effect, including rule-congruency, and therefore indicated rule-congruency unequivocally. Finally, implications concerning generality versus domain specificity of control processes in task switching are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1041
Number of pages19
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A: Human Experimental Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (all)


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