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Daryl Wilson, David Gilbert; Effect of perceptual load on response control. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):782. doi: 10.1167/8.6.782.
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The goal was to explore the relation between attentional control and response control. To do this, we manipulated the difficulty of a perceptual task and examined the impact on response control. A letter search task was used with letters potentially appearing in any of eight equally eccentric locations distributed in a circular array around fixation. Perceptual load was manipulated via set size (2, 4, or 8 letters). The colour of each letter was randomized (blue or red). The colour of the target letter (X) determined the response. For half of the subjects, a red target required a congruent response (target on left = left-hand keypress; target on right = right-hand keypress), whereas a blue target required an incongruent response (target on left = right-hand keypress; target on right = left-hand keypress). As expected, increases in set size slowed response times. Furthermore, incongruent responses produced slower responses than congruent responses. Critically, there was no interaction of perceptual load and response control suggesting that the perceptual difficulty of the task had no impact on response control.
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