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A role of goals for social inhibition of return?


Dolk,  Thomas
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Faculty of Human Science, University of Potsdam, Germany;

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Janczyk, M., Welsh, T. N., & Dolk, T. (2016). A role of goals for social inhibition of return? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(12), 2402-2418. doi:10.1080/17470218.2015.1112417.

The social inhibition of return (sIOR) effect refers to the finding that response initiation times are longer if a movement is executed to a location where another person has responded to just before. Previous studies have examined the influence of the goal of the action on sIOR. In these studies, however, the movement endpoint and to-be-attained goal (e.g., touching/pressing a response key) were at the same spatial location. In the present two experiments, we disentangled movement endpoint and goal's identity and locations by means of introducing action effects that followed directly from a movement. Similar methods were previously shown powerful enough to clearly show the importance of action goals for other phenomena—a finding consistent with effect-based theories of action control, such as the ideomotor theory. The results of the present study revealed that sIOR was shaped by the movement endpoint location, not the goal's identity or location. That is, in both experiments, an sIOR effect was observed, but the magnitude of the sIOR effect was not modulated by repetitions/switches of goals or their locations. Thus, results indicate that goals play a negligible role in the emergence of the sIOR and, consequently, highlight the importance of action observation for the emergence of the sIOR effect.