The effect of reducing attentional resources on selective suppression in the Simon task


  • Grandjean Aurélie
  • Suarez Isabel
  • Casini Laurence

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Studies using reaction times (RTs) distribution methods find that the Simon effect is greater for fast RTs and becomes smaller or reversed for slow RTs. However, the exact mechanisms responsible for this reduction are under debate. This study addressed the issue of whether attentional resources play a role in reduction of the Simon effect over time by investigating whether it is influenced by attentional constraints in a dual-task paradigm. Participants were instructed to perform a Simon task concurrently with a secondary task. Secondary task characteristics were manipulated by varying the overlap between the secondary task and the Simon task. Specifically, secondary tasks varied in their stimulus modality (auditory or visual) and/or response type (verbal or manual and lateralised or not). Distribution analyses of RTs, in the form of delta-plot functions, were performed for both the single- and dual-task conditions. Results showed that the more attention the secondary task demanded, the less the Simon effect was reduced, even for slower RTs. This suggests that the mechanisms responsible for the reduction of Simon effect over time are under top-down control.

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