The representation of instructions operates like a prepared reflex: flanker compatibility effects found in first trial following S-R instructions

Cohen Kdoshay Oshrit, Nachshon Meiran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

The prepared reflex (PR) metaphor (Woodworm. R. S. (1938). Experimental psychology . New York: Holt. Rinehart and Winston) suggests that stimulus response (S-R) instructions held in working memory (WM) can lead to autonomous response activation even without any practice . Cohen-Kdoshay and Meiran (Cohen-Kdoshay, O.. & Meiran, N. (2007). The representation of instructions in working memory leads to autonomous response activation: Evidence from the first trials in the flanker paradigm. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 60 (8). 1140-1154) showed that the flanker compatibility effect (FCE) is found in the eight trials following S-R instructions supporting the PR hypothesis. Nonetheless, performance in the first trials forms long-term memory (LTM) traces which link abstract categories with responses and the retrieval of these LTM traces may be the reason for the autonomous response activation seen in the FCE. This account predicts FCEs to be absent in the first trial and present afterwards. The authors show that the FCE was present in the first trial immediately following the instructions, thus providing unequivocal support for the PR metaphor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-133
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Psychology
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2009

Keywords

  • Autonomous processing
  • Flanker compatibility
  • Instructions
  • Intention
  • Prepared reflex
  • Task set

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology

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