Traditional approaches to human information processing tend to deal with perception and action planning in isolation, so that an adequate account of the perception-action interface is still missing. On the perceptual side, the dominant cognitive view largely underestimates, and thus fails to account for, the impact of action-related processes on both the processing of perceptual information and on perceptual learning. On the action side, most approaches conceive of action planning as a mere continuation of stimulus processing, thus failing to account for the goal-directedness of even the simplest reaction in an experimental task. We propose a new framework for a more adequate theoretical treatment of perception and action planning, in which perceptual contents and action plans are coded in a common representational medium by feature codes with distal reference. Perceived events (perceptions) and to-be-produced events (actions) are equally represented by integrated, task-tuned networks of feature codes – cognitive structures we call event codes. We give an overview of evidence from a wide variety of empirical domains, such as spatial stimulus-response compatibility, sensorimotor synchronization, and ideomotor action, showing that our main assumptions are well supported by the data.
According to the authors' 2-phase model of action control, people first incidentally acquire bidirectional associations between motor patterns and movement-contingent events and then intentionally use these associations for goal-directed action. The authors tested the model in 4 experiments, each comprising an acquisition phase, in which participants experienced co-occurrences between left and right keypresses and low- and high-pitched tones, and a test phase, in which the tones preceded the responses in forced- and free-choice designs. Both reaction time and response frequency in the test phase depended on the learned associations, indicating that presenting a tone activated the associated response. Results are interpreted as evidence for automatic action-outcome integration and automatic response priming through learned action effects. These processes may be basic for the control of voluntary action by the anticipation of action goals.
Recent studies have shown that the effects of irrelevant spatial stimulus-response (S-R) correspondence (i.e., the Simon effect) occur only after trials in which the stimulus and response locations corresponded. This has been attributed to the gating of irrelevant information or the suppression of an automatic S-R route after experiencing a noncorresponding trial-a challenge to the widespread assumption of direct, intentionally unmediated links between spatial stimulus and response codes. However, trial sequences in a Simon task are likely to produce effects of stimulus- and response-feature integration that may mimic the sequential dependencies of Simon effects. Four experiments confirmed that Simon effects are eliminated if the preceding trial involved a noncorresponding S-R pair. However, this was true even when the preceding response did not depend on the preceding stimulus or if the preceding trial required no response at all. These findings rule out gating/suppression accounts that attribute sequential dependencies to response selection difficulties. Moreover, they are consistent with a feature-integration approach and demonstrate that accounting for the sequential dependencies of Simon effects does not require the assumption of information gating or response suppression.
ABSTRACT-Two-component theories of intellectual development over the life span postulate that fluid abilities develop earlier during child development and decline earlier during aging than crystallized abilities do, and that fluid abilities support or constrain the acquisition and expression of crystallized abilities. Thus, maturation and senescence compress the structure of intelligence by imposing age-specific constraints upon its constituent processes. Hence, the couplings among different intellectual abilities and cognitive processes are expected to be strong in childhood and old age. Findings from a populationbased study of 291 individuals aged 6 to 89 years support these predictions. Furthermore, processing robustness, a frequently overlooked aspect of processing, predicted fluid intelligence beyond processing speed in old age but not in childhood, suggesting that the causes of more compressed functional organization of intelligence differ between maturation and senescence. Research on developmental changes in functional brain circuitry may profit from explicitly recognizing transformations in the organization of intellectual abilities and their underlying cognitive processes across the life span.Spearman (1904) discovered the ubiquitous positive intercorrelations among intelligence tests. Since his work, most researchers in the field of intelligence have viewed the structure of intelligence as static (see Carroll, 1993, andSternberg, 1994, for overviews), overlooking possible developmental transformations in the organization of intellectual abilities and their underlying information processing and neurobiological mechanisms.
Response inhibition is essential for navigating everyday life. Its derailment is considered integral to numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders, and more generally, to a wide range of behavioral and health problems. Response-inhibition efficiency furthermore correlates with treatment outcome in some of these conditions. The stop-signal task is an essential tool to determine how quickly response inhibition is implemented. Despite its apparent simplicity, there are many features (ranging from task design to data analysis) that vary across studies in ways that can easily compromise the validity of the obtained results. Our goal is to facilitate a more accurate use of the stop-signal task. To this end, we provide 12 easy-to-implement consensus recommendations and point out the problems that can arise when they are not followed. Furthermore, we provide user-friendly open-source resources intended to inform statistical-power considerations, facilitate the correct implementation of the task, and assist in proper data analysis.
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