Joint Simon effects in extrapersonal space

J Mot Behav. 2013;45(1):1-5. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2012.746635. Epub 2013 Feb 6.


Numerous studies have revealed that when people sit next to each other and complete separate parts of a Simon task, response times are shorter when the participants' stimulus appears in front of them than when the stimulus appears in the opposite side of space. According to the action co-representation account of this joint Simon effect (JSE), participants represent each other's responses and the compatibility effects emerge because of a set of facilitatory and inhibitory processes that are similar to those that are activated when individuals perform the entire Simon task alone. D. Guagnano, E. Rusconi, and C. A. Umiltà (2010) argued against this account as the sole mechanism based on their finding that a JSE was not observed when participants sat outside of each other's peripersonal space. Notably, the task in the Guagnano et al.'s was a modified version of the conventional JSE task designed to increase the independence of the partners. Here, we reconsider the arguments of Guagnano et al. and report a study in which the authors failed to replicate their key finding. Considering the extant JSE literature, we conclude that the null effect in Guagnano et al.'s study may be an anomaly and that co-representation remains a leading candidate for the critical process underlying JSEs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reaction Time*
  • Signal Detection, Psychological*