Journal article

Does sensitivity in binary choice tasks depend on response modality?

In most models of vision, a stimulus is processed in a series of dedicated visual areas, leading to categorization of this stimulus, and possible decision, which subsequently may be mapped onto a motor-response. In these models, stimulus processing is thought to be independent of the response modality. However, in theories of event coding, common coding, and sensorimotor contingency, stimuli may be very specifically mapped onto certain motor-responses. Here, we compared performance in a shape localization task and used three different response modalities: manual, saccadic, and verbal. Meta-contrast masking was employed at various inter-stimulus intervals (ISI) to manipulate target visibility. Although we found major differences in reaction times for the three response modalities, accuracy remained at the same level for each response modality (and all ISIs). Our results support the view that stimulus-response (S-R) associations exist only for specific instances, such as reflexes or skills, but not for arbitrary S-R pairings.


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