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ERIC Number: EJ777463
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 17
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Action Planning in the Presence of Distracting Stimuli: An Investigation into the Time Course of Distractor Effects
Machado, Liana; Wyatt, Natalie; Devine, Amy; Knight, Benjamin
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v33 n5 p1045-1061 Oct 2007
Humans have a remarkable capability to respond efficiently to a stimulus of interest despite other stimuli competing for neural resources. The current study investigated how the human system copes with distracting stimuli. During each trial, participants viewed 2 sequential stimuli that were each associated with a specific action based on an arbitrary mapping. The 1st stimulus served as a distractor, and the 2nd stimulus required a response (target). When the distractor preceded the target by more than a few hundred milliseconds, response latencies were slower when the 2 stimuli were associated with the same response. The authors propose that this negative compatibility effect stemmed from an inhibitory mechanism that the human system utilizes to prevent the distractor from eliciting an unwanted response.
Descriptors: Reaction Time, Stimuli
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A