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Title:On the Implicit Assumption of the Equivalence of Responses
Author(s):St. James, James David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Eriksen, Charles W.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Experimental
Abstract:Most models of cognitive processes assume that the time to begin a response to a stimulus reflects the processing of information through a series of discrete stages, culminating in the overt response. Tests of these models relay on the assumption of the equivalence of these responses. That is, they assume that the only datum of interest about the reaction to the stimulus is the time required to begin the response. This implicit assumption was tested in a series of three experiments employing a response competition paradigm. Strong evidence was found that suggests that the assumption of the equivalence of responses is incorrect (at least in this experimental paradigm). The number of double responses, on which a subject first initiated an incorrect response, then rapidly amended that response to the correct one, was shown to covary with the degree of response competition produced by the stimulus. The number of double responses was also shown to be altered by manipulations previously shown to affect response competition. In addition, the degree of deflection of the joystick manipulandum was also shown to reflect the degree of response competition, with greater response competition leading to slower reaction times, more double responses, and shorter deflections. These experiments were interpreted as demonstrating the inadequacy of the implicit assumption of the equivalence of responses, and are argued to support a continuous-flow conception of human information processing. In a final experiment, number of double responses and degree of deflection were used as independent indices of response competition to test a response-competition theory of why simple same-different comparisons usually have longer response latencies for "different" than for "same" judgments. Both indices indicated greater response competition for "different" than for "same" judgments. This was interpreted as supporting the response-competition theory over competing theories based on perceptual mechanisms.
Issue Date:1988
Description:125 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8908857
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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