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Expectancy and frequency effects on perceptual and motor systems in choice reaction time

Expectancy and frequency effects on perceptual and motor systems in choice reaction time

Memory & Cognition 9(6): 631-641

The effects of expectancy and stimulus frequency in character classification and identification tasks were studied. Both expectancy and frequency had effects on overall response latency, but the 2 factors had different patterns of interaction with 2 other experimental variables. The effects of visual quality was larger for low-frequency stimuli than for high-frequency stimuli, whereas the effect of quality was independent of expectancy. The effect of S-R (stimulus-response) compatibility was more strongly influenced by whether a stimulus was expected than by the frequency of the stimulus. Apparently, expectancy and frequency have somewhat different effects on human information processing mechanisms. Expectancy allows temporary preparation for a specific S-R pair in response selection processes, but it has no effect on perceptual processes. Stimulus frequency influences the efficiency of both perceptual and response selection processes. The overall effect of stimulus probability may be interpreted as having as components both expectancy and frequency effects.

Accession: 005419401

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PMID: 7329244

DOI: 10.3758/bf03202358

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