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ERIC Number: EJ954707
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0211-2159
Stimulus Control: The Sought or Unsought Influence of the Objects We Tend to
Morsella, Ezequiel; Larson, Lindsay R. L.; Zarolia, Pareezad; Bargh, John A.
Psicologica: International Journal of Methodology and Experimental Psychology, v32 n2 p145-169 2011
Does the mere presence of the things we have tended to influence our actions systematically, in ways that escape our awareness? For example, while entering a tool shed, does perceiving objects that we once tended to (e.g., tools, musical instruments) influence how we then execute a simple action (e.g., flicking the shed's light switch)? Ancient traditions (e.g., "feng shui") and contemporary approaches to action production (e.g., "continuous flow" and "cascade" models) hypothesize that the answer is yes. Although relevant to several fields (e.g., motor cognition, social cognition), for various reasons this hypothesis cannot be tested by traditional choice-response time interference paradigms, which involve more complex processes than our tool shed scenario. Using new paradigms that resemble detection tasks, three studies demonstrated that "very incidental" action-related distracters systematically interfere with simple, repeated actions that involve minimal response selection and decision-making processes. In Study 2, incidental musical notation interfered more with the simple actions of expert sight-readers than with the same actions of non-musicians. A similar pattern of effects was obtained with a fully experimental design. The implications for theories of action production, environmentally-driven automaticity, and social cognition are discussed. (Contains 6 figures and 1 table.)
University of Valencia. Dept. Metodologia, Facultad de Psicologia, Avda. Blasco Ibanez 21, 46010 Valencia, Spain. Tel: +34-96-386-4100; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut