Effects of saccades and response type on the simon effect: If you look at the stimulus, the Simon effect may be gone

Simona Buetti, Dirk Kerzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Simon effect has most often been investigated with key-press responses and eye fixation. In the present study, we asked how the type of eye movement and the type of manual response affect response selection in a Simon task. We investigated three eye movement instructions (spontaneous, saccade, and fixation) while participants performed goal-directed (i.e., reaching) or symbolic (i.e., finger-lift) responses. Initially, no oculomotor constraints were imposed, and a Simon effect was present for both response types. Next, eye movements were constrained. Participants had to either make a saccade toward the stimulus or maintain gaze fixed in the screen centre. While a congruency effect was always observed in reaching responses, it disappeared in finger-lift responses. We suggest that the redirection of saccades from the stimulus to the correct response location in noncorresponding trials contributes to the Simon effect. Because of eye-hand coupling, this occurred in a mandatory manner with reaching responses but not with finger-lift responses. Thus, the Simon effect with key-presses disappears when participants do what they typically do-look at the stimulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2172-2189
Number of pages18
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Reaching movements
  • Saccades
  • Simon effect
  • Symbolic responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of saccades and response type on the simon effect: If you look at the stimulus, the Simon effect may be gone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this