Saccadic eye movements do not trigger a joint Simon effect

Psychon Bull Rev. 2019 Dec;26(6):1896-1904. doi: 10.3758/s13423-019-01639-0.


Although the joint Simon task (JST) has been investigated for more than a decade, its cause is still unclear. According to ideomotor views of action control, action effects are a commonly cited explanation. However, action effects are usually confounded with the actions producing such effects. We combined a JST with eye tracking and asked participants to respond by performing specific saccades. Saccades were followed by visual feedback (central vs. lateral feedback), serving as the action effect. This arrangement allowed us to isolate actions from action effects and, also to prevent each actor from seeing the reciprocal actions of the other actor. In this saccadic JST, we found a significant compatibility effect in the individual setting. The typical enhanced compatibility effect in the joint setting of the JST was absent with central action feedback and even when lateralized visual action feedback was provided. Our findings suggest that the perception of action effects alone might not be sufficient to modulate compatibility effects for eye movements. The presence of a compatibility effect in the individual setting shows the specific requirements of a saccadic compatibility task - the requirement to perform prosaccades to compatible and antisaccades to incompatible target locations. The lack of a difference between compatibility effects in joint and individual settings and the lack of a modulation of the compatibility effect through lateralized visual action feedback shows that the finding of a joint Simon effect that has frequently been reported for manual responses is absent for saccadic responses.

Keywords: Action feedback; Compatibility effect; Eye movements; Joint action.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult