The role of dimension relevance in features' access to response-selection mechanisms

Alon Zivony, Dominique Lamy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


It is widely agreed that attending to a stimulus entails that all its features are processed. However, whether all these features are granted access to response-selection mechanisms remains a debated issue. Some authors suggest that all the features of the attended object affect response selection, irrespective of their relevance to the task at hand, whereas others claim that only its currently relevant features do. Yet others suggest that irrelevant features of an attended object affect response selection only if this object is the target, that is, only if it is selected for action. The results from 3 experiments show that responses associated with an attended object's irrelevant dimension interfered with response selection even when this object was not selected for action, but to a lesser extent than the responses associated with its relevant dimension. Our findings also show that interference from the irrelevant dimension can be masked when the response codes associated with the relevant and irrelevant dimensions compete. We suggest a parsimonious account of the findings from the extant literature that obviates the need to postulate a qualitative distinction between attention and selection for action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1873-1885
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Attention
  • Compatibility effects
  • Interference
  • Selection
  • Stimulus-response binding


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