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Motor plans persist to influence subsequent actions with four or more response alternatives.

Authors
  • Tretyak, Valeria1
  • Yarrow, Kielan2
  • 1 Department of Psychology, City University London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Department of Psychology, City University London, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Acta psychologica
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2014
Volume
149
Pages
9–17
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.02.013
PMID: 24657597
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Motor activity has the potential to persist after action and influence subsequent behaviour. A standard approach to isolating a motoric influence is to map two stimuli onto each response, so that response and stimulus repetition can be dissociated. A response-only response-repetition (RoRR) effect can then be assessed, arising if the same response made to two unrelated stimuli is nonetheless produced more rapidly. This kind of motoric behavioural influence of one response on the next has proved elusive in reaction time tasks involving choices between key presses, at least when stimuli mapped to each response are difficult to categorise together. However, such tasks have traditionally involved only a few response alternatives. We hypothesised that a larger load on the motor system might prevent participants from holding all possible action plans active throughout an experiment, and thus reveal trial-to-trial motor priming in the form of an RoRR effect. In our first experiment, increasing the number of response alternatives to four or eight yielded a reliable RoRR effect. This effect was replicated in Experiment 2, where it also proved persistent across practice and resistant to changes in response configuration. Our results are consistent with evidence of motoric perseveration in other kinds of motor task, such as reaching and grasping, and have implications for the generation of speeded decisions in a range of activities.

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