Mechanisms Underlying Transfer of Task-Defined Rules Across Feature Dimensions

Giulia Baroni, Motonori Yamaguchi, Jing Chen, Robert W. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Simon effect can be reversed, favoring spatially noncorresponding responses, when people respond to stimulus colors (e.g., green) by pressing a key labeled with the alternative color (i.e., red). This Hedge and Marsh reversal is most often attributed to transfer of logical recoding rules from the color dimension to the location dimension. A recent study showed that this transfer of logical recoding rules can occur not only within a single task but also across two separate tasks that are intermixed. The present study investigated the conditions that determine the transfer of logical recoding rules across tasks. Experiment 1 examined whether it occurs in a transfer paradigm, that is when the two tasks are performed separately, but provided little support for this possibility. Experiment 2 investigated the role of task-set readiness, using a mixed-task paradigm with a predictable trials sequence, which indicated that there is no transfer of task-defined rules across tasks even when they are highly active during the Simon task. Finally, Experiments 3 and 4 used a mixed-task paradigm, where trials of the two tasks were mixed randomly and unpredictably, and manipulated the amount of feature overlap between tasks. Results indicated that task similarity is a determining factor for transfer of task-defined rules to occur. Overall, the study provides evidence that transfer of logical recoding rules tends to occur across two tasks when tasks are unpredictably intermixed and use stimuli that are highly similar and confusable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-424
JournalExperimental Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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