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The joint flanker effect: sharing tasks with real and imagined co-actors.

Atmaca S, Sebanz N, Knoblich G - Exp Brain Res (2011)

Bottom Line: The Eriksen flanker task (Eriksen and Eriksen in Percept Psychophys 16:143-149, 1974) was distributed among pairs of participants to investigate whether individuals take into account a co-actor's S-R mapping even when coordination is not required.Participants responded to target letters (Experiment 1) or colors (Experiment 2) surrounded by distractors.These findings substantiate and generalize earlier results on shared task representations and advance our understanding of the basic mechanisms subserving joint action.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The Eriksen flanker task (Eriksen and Eriksen in Percept Psychophys 16:143-149, 1974) was distributed among pairs of participants to investigate whether individuals take into account a co-actor's S-R mapping even when coordination is not required. Participants responded to target letters (Experiment 1) or colors (Experiment 2) surrounded by distractors. When performing their part of the task next to another person performing the complementary part of the task, participants responded more slowly to stimuli containing flankers that were potential targets for their co-actor (incompatible trials), compared to stimuli containing identical, compatible, or neutral flankers. This joint Flanker effect also occurred when participants merely believed to be performing the task with a co-actor (Experiment 3). Furthermore, Experiment 4 demonstrated that people form shared task representations only when they perceive their co-actor as intentionally controlling her actions. These findings substantiate and generalize earlier results on shared task representations and advance our understanding of the basic mechanisms subserving joint action.

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Illustration of neutral trials (left column) and incompatible trials (right column) in the individual condition (top row) and joint condition (bottom row). In the joint condition, the flankers on incompatible trials were part of the co-actor’s task rules
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Fig1: Illustration of neutral trials (left column) and incompatible trials (right column) in the individual condition (top row) and joint condition (bottom row). In the joint condition, the flankers on incompatible trials were part of the co-actor’s task rules

Mentions: In the new, social version, one person was in charge of the left response key and the other was in charge of the right response key (similar as in Fig. 1, bottom). The crucial question was whether interference between the left and the right response that normally occurs within participants would also be found across participants. The results of this initial study and several further studies (e.g., Milanese et al. 2010; Welsh 2009) confirm this prediction. When participants responded to stimuli of a particular color, they were faster in doing so when the stimuli appeared in a spatial location that corresponded to the side of the response location, compared to when the stimuli appeared on the opposite side. This pattern was found both when participants acted alone (two-choice condition), choosing between a left and a right response, and when they acted together (joint go/no-go condition), with each individual in the pair taking care of only one of the two possible responses. Importantly, this spatial compatibility effect was not observed when participants performed their half of the task alone without the co-actor (individual go/no-go condition).Fig. 1


The joint flanker effect: sharing tasks with real and imagined co-actors.

Atmaca S, Sebanz N, Knoblich G - Exp Brain Res (2011)

Illustration of neutral trials (left column) and incompatible trials (right column) in the individual condition (top row) and joint condition (bottom row). In the joint condition, the flankers on incompatible trials were part of the co-actor’s task rules
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3102196&req=5

Fig1: Illustration of neutral trials (left column) and incompatible trials (right column) in the individual condition (top row) and joint condition (bottom row). In the joint condition, the flankers on incompatible trials were part of the co-actor’s task rules
Mentions: In the new, social version, one person was in charge of the left response key and the other was in charge of the right response key (similar as in Fig. 1, bottom). The crucial question was whether interference between the left and the right response that normally occurs within participants would also be found across participants. The results of this initial study and several further studies (e.g., Milanese et al. 2010; Welsh 2009) confirm this prediction. When participants responded to stimuli of a particular color, they were faster in doing so when the stimuli appeared in a spatial location that corresponded to the side of the response location, compared to when the stimuli appeared on the opposite side. This pattern was found both when participants acted alone (two-choice condition), choosing between a left and a right response, and when they acted together (joint go/no-go condition), with each individual in the pair taking care of only one of the two possible responses. Importantly, this spatial compatibility effect was not observed when participants performed their half of the task alone without the co-actor (individual go/no-go condition).Fig. 1

Bottom Line: The Eriksen flanker task (Eriksen and Eriksen in Percept Psychophys 16:143-149, 1974) was distributed among pairs of participants to investigate whether individuals take into account a co-actor's S-R mapping even when coordination is not required.Participants responded to target letters (Experiment 1) or colors (Experiment 2) surrounded by distractors.These findings substantiate and generalize earlier results on shared task representations and advance our understanding of the basic mechanisms subserving joint action.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The Eriksen flanker task (Eriksen and Eriksen in Percept Psychophys 16:143-149, 1974) was distributed among pairs of participants to investigate whether individuals take into account a co-actor's S-R mapping even when coordination is not required. Participants responded to target letters (Experiment 1) or colors (Experiment 2) surrounded by distractors. When performing their part of the task next to another person performing the complementary part of the task, participants responded more slowly to stimuli containing flankers that were potential targets for their co-actor (incompatible trials), compared to stimuli containing identical, compatible, or neutral flankers. This joint Flanker effect also occurred when participants merely believed to be performing the task with a co-actor (Experiment 3). Furthermore, Experiment 4 demonstrated that people form shared task representations only when they perceive their co-actor as intentionally controlling her actions. These findings substantiate and generalize earlier results on shared task representations and advance our understanding of the basic mechanisms subserving joint action.

Show MeSH