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Relationship between flanker identifiability and compatibility effect

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Schwarz, W., & Mecklinger, A. (1995). Relationship between flanker identifiability and compatibility effect. Perception and Psychophysics, 57(7), 1045-1052. doi:10.3758/BF03205463.

What is the relation between the identifiability of masked flankers and their ability to induce compatibility effects in a letter classification task? Using a within-subjects design (n = 8), we first determined identification performance for two flankers (H or N) around an irrelevant target letter as a function of the time (stimulus onset asynchrony, or SOA) after which the flankers were masked. In a second condition, subjects classified the central letter of the same stimulus patterns irrespectively of the identity of the flankers. The compatibility effects increased with increasing identification performance as a function of SOA, and we found a significant compatibility effect even at an SOA at which the identifiability of the flankers did not differ significantly from zero. We discuss the statistical power of our design and an interpretation of our results in terms of a dissociation between perceptual processes and processes directly activating the motor system (direct parameter specification; cf. Neumann, 1990).