The temporal dynamics of effect anticipation in course of action planning

Ziessler, Michael and Nattkemper, Dieter (2011) The temporal dynamics of effect anticipation in course of action planning. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64 (7). pp. 1305-1326. ISSN 1747-0226

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“Strong” versions of the ideomotor theory of action control claim that anticipations of the environmental effects that actions bring about are mandatory for response selection. This is considered to be the one and only way of how actions can be voluntarily selected. We studied this notion in a series of four experiments where we adapted the flanker paradigm to investigate the involvement of effect codes in the preparation of motor responses. Participants first learned that their responses to stimulus letters were contingently followed by the presentation of a new letter on the screen. In the second phase of the experiments, the action-demanding letters were presented together with the effects of the correct response, effects of other responses, or neutral letters. Varying the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between target stimuli and the flanking effect stimuli provides the opportunity to investigate the temporal dynamics of the activation of effect codes. Hence, flanker stimuli were presented before, simultaneously with, or after the onset of the target. The results indicate that effect-related information from the flanker stimuli is involved in the preparation process, but mainly in later phases of response preparation. The observed pattern of results suggests that, at least under conditions where responses are determined by stimuli, effect codes are activated in course of response planning to enable the evaluation of the executed response and the monitoring of response execution, but they do not automatically activate the responses themselves.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article submitted for consideration in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology [copyright Taylor & Francis]; The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology] is available online at
Keywords: Action planning, Effect anticipation, Ideomotor theory, Motor control, Flanker task
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Users 4 not found.
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2013 13:22
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2013 13:22

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