Modes of Spatial Coding in the Simon Task

Motonori Yamaguchi, Robert W. Proctor

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

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Many models of the Simon effect assume that categorical spatial representations underlie the phenomenon. The present study tested this assumption explicitly in two experiments, both of which involved eight possible spatial positions of imperative stimuli arranged horizontally on the screen. In Experiment 1, the eight stimulus locations were marked with eight square boxes that appeared at the same time during a trial. Results showed gradually increasing Simon effects from the central locations to the outer locations. In Experiment 2, the eight stimulus locations consisted of a combination of three frames of spatial reference (hemispace, hemifield, and position relative to the fixation), with each frame appearing in different timings. In contrast to Experiment 1, results showed an oscillating pattern of the Simon effect across the horizontal positions. These findings are discussed in terms of grouping factors involved in the Simon task. The locations seem to be coded as a single continuous dimension when all are visible at once as in Experiment 1, but they are represented as a combination of the lateral categories (‘left’ vs. ‘right’) with multiple frames of reference when the reference frames are presented successively as in Experiment 2.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Early online date26 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2019


  • Stimulus-response compatibility
  • Simon effect
  • spatial representation
  • categorical perception
  • task representation.


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