Ideomotor compatibility in the psychological refractory period effect: 29 years of oversimplification

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2002 Apr;28(2):396-409. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.28.2.396.


Four experiments examined whether the psychological refractory period (PRP) effect can be eliminated with ideomotor compatible (IM) but not stimulus-response compatible (SR) tasks, as reported by A. G. Greenwald and H. G. Shulman (1973). Their tasks were used: a left or right movement to a left- or right-pointing arrow (IM) or to the word left or right (SR) for Task 1; saying "A" or "B" (IM) or "1" or "2" (SR) to an auditory A or B for Task 2. The stimulus onset asynchronies were 0, 100, 200, 300, 500, and 1,000 ms in Experiment 1, and only 0, 100, 200, and 1,000 ms in Experiments 2-4. The arrow was in the center of the screen in Experiments 1-3 and to the left or right in Experiment 4. As in Greenwald and Shulman's Experiment 2, the instructions stated that most often the 2 stimuli would be presented simultaneously. A PRP effect was obtained in all conditions, most likely because response-selection decisions are required even for IM tasks.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Form Perception
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motor Skills
  • Orientation
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reaction Time
  • Refractory Period, Psychological*
  • Task Performance and Analysis