“Power of instructions” originally referred to automatic response activation associated with instructed rules, but previous examination of the power of instructed rules in actual task implementation has been limited. Typical tasks involve both explicit aspects (e.g., instructed stimulus–response mapping rules) and implied, yet easily inferred aspects (e.g., be ready, attend to error beeps) and it is unknown if inferred aspects also become readily executable like their explicitly instructed counterparts. In each mini-block of our paradigm we introduced a novel two-choice task. In the instructions phase, one stimulus was explicitly mapped to a response; whereas the other stimulus’ response mapping had to be inferred. Results show that, in most cases, explicitly instructed rules were implemented more efficiently than inferred rules, but this advantage was observed only in the first trial following instructions (though not in the first implementation of the rules), which suggests that the entire task set was implemented in the first trial. Theoretical implications are discussed.
- Explicit instructions
- Inferred rules
- Instructions-based performance