The Prepared Reflex: Behavioral and Subjective Flanker Interference Effects

  •  Pin-Wei Chen    
  •  Tiffany Jantz    
  •  Ezequiel Morsella    


One can easily learn to associate a motor response to a given sensory stimulus. This linking of stimuli to responses (“S-R links,” for short) may be learned through verbal instruction or through extensive training. The former has been characterized as something akin to the acquisition of a “prepared reflex.” Recently, it has been demonstrated that, in the flanker paradigm, S-R links acquired through prepared reflexes can yield the interference effects found with the traditional versions of this task, which normally include training. In a fully within-subjects paradigm, we replicated this current research and extended it, by including (a) contrasts between all traditional flanker conditions (including response interference and perceptual interference) and (b) trial-by-trial subjective measures of performance (i.e., “urges to err”). The behavioral and subjective effects found with prepared reflexes resembled those found following normal S-R link acquisition. The theoretical implications of this finding are discussed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.