Previous research has shown that mental representations of actions can influence performance on relevant tasks or dimensions even when there is no overt execution of the action. In this study, we examined whether cognitive processes prior to the physical execution of an action can elicit attentional bias towards irrelevant tasks or dimensions of that action. Participants performed two independent tasks—an action task and a search task—where they were instructed to plan an action and execute the action following the visual search task. We found that the same features of the object were prioritized in the subsequent search task when participants had planned an action response on the object in comparison to when they had not. This effect occurred even when the feature was irrelevant to the tasks or required action. Furthermore, the effect of action planning without physical response was found to be comparable to the effect of physical response. These results suggest that planning of a simple action can induce attentional bias to irrelevant features of objects even without physical action.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018S1A5A2A01032827) and by the Yonsei University Research Fund of 2018 (2018-22-0102).
© 2020, The Psychonomic Society, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)