The presence of a distracting stimulus during performance of the Stroop color-naming task leads to dilution of the Stroop effect. Because the automatic activation of word meaning may interfere with the task-relevant stimulus feature (text color; stimulus-stimulus [S-S] interference) and the response (saying the text color; stimulus-response [S-R] interference), it is unclear which of these types of interference is diluted. We introduce a new dilution paradigm using word- and arrow-based Simon tasks, in which only S-R interference is present. Participants made a left or right response to a central color target. A task-irrelevant location-word (Experiment 1) or arrow (Experiment 2) distractor adjacent to the target produced S-R compatibility effects. An additional neutral word or symbol series (diluter) was sometimes presented on the opposite side of the target from the distractor. The compatibility effect was smaller when the distractor and diluter category domains matched than when they mismatched. This result provides evidence that S-R compatibility effects are susceptible to the presence of diluters that are categorically similar to the distractors.
Miles, J. D., Yamaguchi, M., & Proctor, R. W. (2009). Dilution of compatibility effects in Simon-type tasks depends on categorical similarity between distractors and diluters. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 71(7), 1598-1606. https://doi.org/doi:10.3758/APP.71.7.1598