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The benefit of no choice: goal-directed plans enhance perceptual processing.

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posted on 2016-01-20, 15:35 authored by Markus Janczyk, Michael Dambacher, Maik Bieleke, Peter M. Gollwitzer
Choosing among different options is costly. Typically, response times are slower if participants can choose between several alternatives (free-choice) compared to when a stimulus determines a single correct response (forced-choice). This performance difference is commonly attributed to additional cognitive processing in free-choice tasks, which require time-consuming decisions between response options. Alternatively, the forced-choice advantage might result from facilitated perceptual processing, a prediction derived from the framework of implementation intentions. This hypothesis was tested in three experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 were PRP experiments and showed the expected underadditive interaction of the SOA manipulation and task type, pointing to a pre-central perceptual origin of the performance difference. Using the additive-factors logic, Experiment 3 further supported this view. We discuss the findings in the light of alternative accounts and offer potential mechanisms underlying performance differences in forced- and free-choice tasks.

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Citation

Psychological Research, 2015, 79 (2), pp. 206-220

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/MBSP Non-Medical Departments/Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Psychological Research

Publisher

Springer-Verlag

issn

0340-0727

eissn

1430-2772

Copyright date

2015

Available date

2016-01-20

Publisher version

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00426-014-0549-5

Language

en

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