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Cristina IANI

Professore Ordinario
Dip.to Chirurgico, medico,odontoiatrico sede RE


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Pubblicazioni

2023 - Emotions in motion: affective valence can influence compatibility effects with graspable objects [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, E.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.; Iani, C.
abstract

Previous studies showed that affective valence (positive, negative) influences Stimulus–Response Compatibility (SRC) effects elicited by both relevant and irrelevant spatial dimensions. We tested whether valence influences SRC effects when the irrelevant spatial dimension rather than being conveyed by the entire stimulus location is conveyed by the location of the stimulus’ graspable part, i.e., the Handle–Response (H–R) compatibility effect. Participants saw objects with either a flower, a spider or nothing on their handle and categorized them as kitchen utensils or garage tools through button presses. In Experiment 1, a random presentation of valenced stimuli was used, whereas in Experiment 2 differently valenced stimuli were arranged in different blocks. Furthermore, participants in Experiment 2 could be spider-fearful or not. In Experiment 1, an H–R compatibility effect occurred for response latencies, regardless of whether stimuli presented a negative, positive or no element on their handle. In Experiment 2 the effect occurred only when a positive element was shown on the object's handle. In addition, spider-fearful individuals showed significantly slower responses when the element appearing on the object's handle had a negative valence. These results suggest that the SRC effect observed with pictures of graspable objects may be sensitive to the affective characteristics of stimuli and that approach/avoidance response tendencies may also depend on individual differences (being spider-fearful or not).


2023 - Searching for a tactile target: the impact of set-size on the N140cc [Articolo su rivista]
Gherri, E.; Fiorino, F. R.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.
abstract

The time needed to find a visual target amongst distractors (search task) can increase as a function of the distractors’ number (set-size) in the search-array (inefficient search). While the allocation of attention in search tasks has been extensively investigated and debated in the visual domain, little is known about these mechanisms in touch. Initial behavioral evidence shows inefficient search behavior when participants have to distinguish between target and distractors defined by their vibro-tactile frequencies. In the present study, to investigate the allocation of attention to items of the search-array we measured the N140cc during a tactile task in which the set-size was manipulated. The N140cc is a lateralized component of event-related brain potentials recently described as a psychophysiological marker of attentional allocation in tactile search tasks. Participants localized the target, a singleton frequency, while ignoring one, three or five homogeneous distractors. Results showed that error rates linearly increased as a function of set-size, while response times were not affected. Reliable N140cc components were observed for all set-sizes. Crucially, the N140cc amplitude decreased as the number of distractors increased. We argue that the presence of additional distractors hindered the preattentive analysis of the search array resulting in increased uncertainty about the target location (inefficient preattentive stage). This, in turn, increased the variability of the deployment of attention to the target, resulting in reduced N140cc amplitudes. Consistent with existing behavioral evidence, these findings highlight systematic differences between the visual and the tactile attentional systems.


2022 - Does a look of fear prompt to act? The effects of gaze and face emotional expression on manipulable objects [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, Elisa; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina
abstract

Gaze direction is an important social cue for understanding the intentions of other people. Indeed, interacting with others requires the ability to encode their current focus of attention in order to predict their future actions. Previous studies have showed that when asked to detect or identify a target, people are faster if shown a gaze oriented toward rather than away from that target. Most importantly, there is evidence that the emotion conveyed by the face with the averted gaze matters. We further tested the interplay between gaze and face emotion in the context of manipulable objects to understand whether and to what extent other people's gaze influences our own actions toward objects. Participants judged whether a target graspable object was upright or inverted after viewing a face cue with a central or averted gaze. Importantly, the target's handle could be oriented toward the gazed-at location or the opposite side such that gaze and handle were corresponding or non-corresponding in space. Furthermore, we manipulated the expression of the cue by using neutral and fearful faces. Results showed a handle-response (H-R) compatibility effect (i.e., a facilitation when the response key is on the same side as the object's handle) only with fearful cues with a central gaze.


2022 - Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dental hygiene students in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna [Articolo su rivista]
Bellini, P.; Iani, C.; Zucchelli, G.; Franchi, M.; Mattioli, A. V.; Consolo, U.
abstract

BACKGROUND: The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new coronavirus detected in China at the end of 2019. Because SARS-CoV-2 is highly infectious due to contamination in the air, there is a high risk of infection in the dental environment which is represents a serious problem for professionals and students (dentistry and dental hygiene). In Italy, since February 23, 2020, the government has suspended all teaching activities of schools and universities. METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire was administered to the students of the degree courses in Dental Hygiene of the Emilia Romagna Region, one of the most affected regions in Italy. The survey was intended to highlight the practical and emotional consequences of the emergency of COVID-19 on educational activities and in the training of students. RESULTS: The survey was sent to the 150 students enrolled in the universities of Bologna, Ferrara and Modena and Reggio Emilia; 141 of them completed it (94%). Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several surveys have been proposed to measure the impact of this emergency situation on dental professionals; at present, however, there are still no assessments for dental hygiene degree courses, in particular aimed at assessing the psychological impact on students. CONCLUSIONS: Students consider the dental hygienist as a risky profession, while the risk taken by patients is considered as low. Given the concern reported the students, it would be useful to address the issue of proper assessment of risk during the university training of dental hygienists.


2022 - To collaborate or not to collaborate: understanding human-robot collaboration [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Villani, Valeria; Ciaramidaro, Angela; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Sabattini, Lorenzo
abstract


2021 - Corrigendum: Exploring the Role of Action Consequences in the Handle-Response Compatibility Effect (Front. Hum. Neurosci., (2020), 14, 286, 10.3389/fnhum.2020.00286) [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, E.; D'Ascenzo, S.; Lugli, L.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.
abstract

In the original article, there was a mistake in Table 1 as published. There was a missing reference of Kourtis and Vingerhoets (2015). The corrected Table 1 appears below. In the original article, there was an error. The authors mistakenly reported as evidence a hypothetical interpretation offered by Kourtis and Vingerhoets (2015) of their neurophysiological results. A correction has been made to Introduction, Paragraph 2: Evidence in favor of the H-R compatibility effect was initially provided by Tucker and Ellis (1998) who showed that judging the upright or inverted position of depicted graspable objects was influenced by the orientation of the object’s handle. That is, responses were faster when the position of the handle and the responding hand were spatially aligned as compared to when they were not. This result was replicated across different tasks (e.g., Tipper et al., 2006; Saccone et al., 2016), stimuli (e.g., Pellicano et al., 2010; Pappas, 2014; Iani et al., 2018; Scerrati et al., 2019, 2020), populations (e.g., Dekker and Mareschal, 2013), response devices (e.g., Bub and Masson, 2010), and response modes (e.g., Phillips and Ward, 2002; Cho and Proctor, 2010; Proctor et al., 2017; Bub et al., 2018; for a review see Proctor and Miles, 2014; for a recent meta-analysis see Azaad et al., 2019). The authors apologize for this error and state that this does not change the scientific conclusions of the article in any way. The original article has been updated.


2021 - Does the Activation of Motor Information Affect Semantic Processing? [Capitolo/Saggio]
Scerrati, E.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.
abstract

Several behavioral studies show that semantic content influences reach-to-grasp movement responses. However, not much is known about the influence of motor activation on semantic processing. The present study aimed at filling this gap by examining the influence of pre-activated motor information on a subsequent lexical decision task. Participants were instructed to observe a prime object (e.g., the image of a frying pan) and then judge whether the following target was a known word in the lexicon or not. They were required to make a keypress response to target words describing properties either relevant (e.g., handle) or irrelevant (e.g., ceramic) for action or unrelated to the prime object (e.g., eyelash). Response key could be located on the same side as the depicted action-relevant property of the prime object (i.e., spatially compatible key) or on the opposite side (i.e., spatially incompatible key). Results showed a facilitation in terms of lower percentage errors when the target word was action-relevant (e.g., handle) and there was spatial compatibility between the orientation of the action-relevant component of the prime object and the response. This preliminary finding suggests that the activation of motor information may affect semantic processing. We discuss implications of these results for current theories of action knowledge representation.


2021 - Psychological reactions to COVID-19 and epidemiological aspects of dental practitioners during lockdown in Italy [Articolo su rivista]
Bellini, Pierantonio; Checchi, Vittorio; Iani, Cristina; Bencivenni, Davide; Consolo, Ugo
abstract

BACKGROUND: Due to droplet production and exposure to saliva and blood, dental practitioners are at high risk of COVID-19 contagion during their routine procedures. The aim of this study was to investigate the behavior of Italian dentists and to analyze their reactions in relation to Sars-CoV-2 pandemic professional restrictive measures.METHODS: An online structured survey composed of 40 questions has been sent to dental practitioners all over Italy to investigate their behavior and to analyze their reactions in relation to Sars-CoV-2 pandemic restrictive measures introduced by the Italian national administrative order of 10 March 2020 (DM-10M20).RESULTS: 1109 dentists replied. To assess concerns and psychological responses the sample was divided into two groups based on the number of cases registered in their work area. In the first group were included all the responders working in the Italian regions that had more than 15.000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 29, 2020. The second group included responders working in the Italian regions that had less than 15,000 confirmed cases. The 45.2% of the respondents showed minimal anxiety, 34.5% showed mild anxiety, 13.9% showed moderate anxiety, while 6.4% showed a score indicative of a severe level of anxiety.CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19-related emergency condition had a highly negative impact on dental practices in Italy. Those who completed the survey reported practice closure or reduction during the lockdown, and a high level of concern about the professional future for all dental practitioners. Concerns related to professional activity were accompanied by severe anxiety levels.


2021 - The perceived impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dental undergraduate students in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna [Articolo su rivista]
Generali, L.; Iani, C.; Macaluso, G. M.; Montebugnoli, L.; Siciliani, G.; Consolo, U.
abstract

Introduction: The outbreak and diffusion of the novel SARS-CoV2 coronavirus have caused an emergency status in the dental education system. Materials and methods: An anonymous survey composed of 34 questions was delivered to students of the Master Degree Programme in Dentistry and Dental Prosthodontics of the Universities of Emilia-Romagna, the fifth Italian region most affected by the pandemic. The psychological impact of COVID-19 was assessed by means of the Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 scale (GAD-7). Numerically recoded data were analysed using the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), whilst to investigate the association between quantitative variables, the Pearson correlation coefficient (R) was computed. Results: The questionnaire was completed by 399 students (75%) out of 532. Most students experienced difficulties in working at the thesis during the COVID-19 emergency. For over half of them, online teaching could only partially replace traditional face-to-face lessons. The negative impact on the study career was judged as particularly high by sixth-year students. Clinical training activities were considered as exposing to the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection by the majority of the students. The level of concern of contracting COVID-19 infections during future university activities was positively correlated to risk perception related to clinical training. Conclusion: The results of this survey could be used to train students to a correct risk assessment. Students reported experiencing concern whilst thinking of COVID-19 and 6.5% of them showed symptoms related to high levels of anxiety. These data may guide Universities in trying to reduce students' anxiety by means of correct communication strategies.


2020 - Correction: Truth and lies in your eyes: Pupil dilation of White participants in truthful and deceptive responses to White and Black partners (PLoS ONE (2020) 15:10 (e0239512) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239512) [Articolo su rivista]
Trifiletti, E.; D'Ascenzo, S.; Lugli, L.; Cocco, V. M.; Di Bernardo, G. A.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.; Vezzali, L.
abstract

The second affiliation for the sixth author is incorrect. Cristina Iani is not affiliated with #5, but with #6: Centro Interdipartimentale di Neuroscienze e Neurotecnologie, Università di Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy


2020 - Correspondence effect driven by salient visual asymmetries in integral object stimuli [Articolo su rivista]
Pellicano, A.; Iani, C.; Maiorana, N. V.; Horoufchin, H.; Rubichi, S.; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Binkofski, F.
abstract

The handle-to-hand correspondence effect consists of faster and more accurate responses when the responding hand is aligned with the handle side of an object tool, compared to when they lay on opposite sides. This effect has been attributed to the activation of affordances. Recent studies, however, claimed that it may depend on the spatial coding of the object on the basis of its visual asymmetry (location-coding account). Affordances are namely direct and meaningful relations between recognized objects and the observers’ action system. Therefore, any manipulation that disrupts the body structure of object tools could potentially affect their identification and prevent the activation of affordances. The present study investigated the nature of the handle-to-hand correspondence effects by manipulating structural asymmetry and visual salience of object tools, while preserving their integrity that is, leaving unaltered the original possibilities to activate grasping affordances. Three experiments were run. Results were consistent with the location-coding account and claim for accurate control of visual asymmetries in object stimuli during investigation of affordance effects.


2020 - Do my hands prime your hands? The hand-to-response correspondence effect [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, Elisa; Iani, Cristina; Lugli, Luisa; Nicoletti, Roberto; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Previous research has shown an effect of handle-response correspondence on key-press responses when participants judged the upright or inverted orientation of photographed one-handled graspable objects. In three experiments, we explored whether this effect still holds for symmetric graspable objects that are usually grasped by two hands (i.e. two-handled objects; e.g. shears). In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were required to perform a between-hand response in order to categorize cooking or amusement objects appearing as grasped from either an allocentric (Experiment 1) or an egocentric perspective (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, they were required to perform a within-hand response to categorize the same stimuli appearing as grasped from an egocentric perspective. Across all three experiments, results showed that categorization was more difficult when the objects were displayed as grasped on the opposite side than the response rather than on the same side. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of action potentiation and spatial coding and suggest that different mechanisms may be recruited depending on the required action (i.e. response mode).


2020 - Epidemiological Aspects and Psychological Reactions to COVID-19 of Dental Practitioners in the Northern Italy Districts of Modena and Reggio Emilia [Articolo su rivista]
Consolo, Ugo; Bellini, Pierantonio; Bencivenni, Davide; Iani, Cristina; Checchi, Vittorio
abstract

The outbreak and diffusion of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (Sars-CoV-2) and COronaVIrus Disease 19 (COVID-19) have caused an emergency status in the health system, including in the dentistry environment. Italy registered the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world and the second highest in Europe. An anonymous online survey composed of 40 questions has been sent to dentists practicing in the area of Modena and Reggio Emilia, one of the areas in Italy most affected by COVID-19. The survey was aimed at highlighting the practical and emotional consequences of COVID-19 emergence on daily clinical practice. Specifically, it assessed dentists' behavioral responses, emotions and concerns following the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic restrictive measures introduced by the Italian national administrative order of 10 March 2020 (DM-10M20), as well as the dentists' perception of infection likelihood for themselves and patients. Furthermore, the psychological impact of COVID-19 was assessed by means of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 test (GAD-7), that measures the presence and severity of anxiety symptoms. Using local dental associations (ANDI-Associazione Nazionale Dentisti Italiani, CAO-Commissione Albo Odontoiatri) lists, the survey was sent by email to all dentists in the district of Modena and Reggio Emilia (874 practitioners) and was completed by 356 of them (40%). All dental practitioners closed or reduced their activity to urgent procedures, 38.2% prior to and 61.8% after the DM-10M20. All reported a routinely use of the most common protective personal equipment (PPE), but also admitted that the use of PPE had to be modified during COVID-19 pandemic. A high percentage of patients canceled their previous appointments after the DM-10M20. Almost 85% of the dentists reported being worried of contracting the infection during clinical activity. The results of the GAD-7 (General Anxiety Disorder-7) evaluation showed that 9% of respondents reported a severe anxiety. To conclude, the COVID-19 emergency is having a highly negative impact on the activity of dentists practicing in the area of Modena and Reggio Emilia. All respondents reported practice closure or strong activity reduction. The perception of this negative impact was accompanied by feelings of concern (70.2%), anxiety (46.4%) and fear (42.4%). The majority of them (89.6%) reported concerns about their professional future and the hope for economic measures to help dental practitioners.


2020 - Exploring the Role of Action Consequences in the Handle-Response Compatibility Effect. [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, Elisa; D’Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, Roberto
abstract

Previous research investigating handle-response compatibility effects with graspable objects used different categories of objects as stimuli, regardless of their specific, intrinsic characteristics. The current study explores whether different types of objects’ characteristics may elicit different types of spatial compatibility, that is, handle-response and response-effect compatibility as well as their potential interaction. In Experiment 1, objects having a graspable handle opposite to either a visible functional component (i.e., handle-function objects: a teapot) or a latent functional component (handle-only objects: a pitcher lacking the spout) were presented separately in different blocks. Both the handle and the goal-directed functional components of these objects were located on the horizontal axis. In Experiment 2, handle-only objects had a handle located on the horizontal axis and a latent functional component located on the vertical axis (e.g., a cup). In both experiments, participants were required to judge the material (plastic and metal) the object was made of. Results showed that the handle-response compatibility effect was sensitive to whether the actions consequences of object manipulation took place on the horizontal rather than on the vertical axis.


2020 - The influence of prime identity on the emergence of affordance effects [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, C.; Maiorana, N. V.; Rubichi, S.
abstract

The present study used a visuomotor priming task to investigate whether classification responses to pairs of graspable objects are influenced by prior presentation of pictures of two human or robotic hands. Participants had to press one of two keys to discriminate whether pairs of graspable objects could be usually found in the kitchen or in the garage. The objects could be used together or not. In each pair there was an active object (i.e., the object that is actively manipulated during a specific action), presented to the right or left of the screen center. Only when the objects were preceded by two robotic hands and could be used together, responses were faster when the position of the active object and the position of the response were spatially corresponding, that is when objects appeared in standard co-locations for right-handed actions. This result demonstrates that affordance effects evoked by object pairs are influenced by the nature of motor cues present in the scene.


2020 - Truth and lies in your eyes: Pupil dilation of White participants in truthful and deceptive responses to White and Black partners [Articolo su rivista]
Trifiletti, Elena; D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Cocco, Veronica Margherita; Di Bernardo, Gian Antonio; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, Roberto; Vezzali, Loris
abstract

In the present study, we examined the pupillary response of White participants who were asked to tell the truth or lie to White or Black partners. Research on cues to deception has assumed that lying is more cognitively demanding that truth telling. In line with this assumption, previous studies have shown that lying is associated with greater pupil dilation, a behavioral cue that typically manifests itself under conditions of stress or cognitive effort. In accordance with these results, we predicted greater pupil dilation when lying than when telling the truth. Furthermore, pupil dilation was expected to be greater when responding to White than Black partners. Finally, we hypothesized that pupil dilation would be greater when lying to White than Black partners. Participants were instructed to answer a set of questions, half truthfully and half deceptively. They were led to believe that White vs. Black partners (one male and one female) would ask the questions via computer connection. Indeed, we used feminine and masculine synthetic voices. Pupil dilation was assessed with a remote eye-tracking system. Results provided support for the first two hypotheses. However, the predicted interaction between race of partners and truth status of message (lying vs. telling the truth) was nonsignificant. Our findings highlight the importance of considering race in the study of truthful and deceptive communications.


2019 - Do already grasped objects activate motor affordances? [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Luca, Ferraro; Maiorana, NATALE VINCENZO; Vittorio, Gallese; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

This study investigated whether in a stimulus–response compatibility (SRC) task affordance effects in response to picture of graspable objects emerge when these objects appear as already grasped. It also assessed whether the observed effects could be explained as due to spatial compatibility between the most salient part in the object/display and the hand of response rather than to action potentiation. To this aim, we conducted three behavioural experiments in which participants were required to discriminate the vertical orientation (upright vs. inverted) of an object presented in the centre of the screen, while ignoring the right–left orientation of its handle. The object could be presented alone, as already grasped, as partially masked (Experiment 1) or with a human hand close to its graspable side (Experiment 2). In addition, to assess the role of perceptual salience, the object could be presented with a human hand or a non-biological (a geometrical shape) distractor located opposite to the object’s graspable side. Results showed faster responses when the object’s handle was located on the same side of the responding hand with a larger effect when upright objects were shown as already grasped (Experiment 1) or when a hand was displayed close to its handle (Experiment 2), and a smaller reversed effect when the hand or the geometrical shape was located opposite to the handled side (Experiment 3). We interpreted these findings as indicating that handle orientation effects emerging in SRC tasks may result from the interplay between motor affordance and spatial compatibility mechanisms.


2019 - Do my hands prime your hands? Effects of (grasped) handles on keypress responses with two-handled objects [Poster]
Rubichi, S.; Scerrati, E.; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Iani, C.
abstract


2019 - Effetti di corrispondenza con oggetti afferrabili: uno studio sulle caratteristiche degli stimoli [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
D’Ascenzo, S.; Scerrati, E.; Lugli, L.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.
abstract


2019 - Il ruolo della valenza emotiva in compiti di compatibilità spaziale con oggetti afferrabili [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Scerrati, Elisa; Iani, Cristina; Ciaramidaro, Angela; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract


2019 - Is there an action potentiation effect with two-handles objects? [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, E.; Iani, C.; Lugli, L.; Rubichi, S.
abstract

Two experiments explore the action Potentiation effect with grasped bimanual objects having two symmetrical handles. objects typically used in the kitchen (e.g., mezzaluna knife) and objects typically used during spare time (e.g., joypad) were presented during a categorization task in four experimental conditions: compatible grasping object, incompatible grasping object, object alone, two-handles grasping object. results show a more difficult categorization when objects were shown as grasped on the opposite side than the response rather than on the same side in each of two different response modes (bimanual: experiment 1; unimanual: experiment 2). We discuss implications of these results for action potentiation and spatial coding theories.


2019 - The role of the co-actor’s response reachability in the joint Simon effect: remapping of working space by tool use. [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Ciardo, Francesca Maria; Panajoli, Simone; Lugli, Luisa; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

The Simon effect, that is the advantage of the spatial correspondence between stimulus and response locations when stimulus location is task irrelevant, occurs even when the task is performed by two participants, each performing a go/no-go task. This effect, known as the joint Simon effect, does not emerge when participants sit outside each other’s peripersonal space, thus suggesting that the presence of an active confederate in peripersonal space might provide a reference for response coding. The present study investigated whether this finding is due to the distance separating the participants and/or to the distance separating each participant and the other agent’s response. In two experiments, pairs of participants performed a social detection task sitting outside each other’s arm reach, with response keys located close to the participants or outside arm reach. When the response key was located outside the participant’s arm reach, he/she could reach it by means of a tool. In Experiment 1, by means of a tool, participants could reach their response key only, while in Experiment 2, they could reach also their co-agent’s response key. The joint Simon effect did not emerge when participants could not reach the co-actor’s response, while it emerged when they could potentially reach the other participant’s response using the tool, but only when turn taking was required. These results may be taken as evidence that the possibility to reach and act upon the co-actor’s response key may be at the bases of compatibility effects observed in joint action contexts requiring complementary responses.


2019 - The unimanual handle-to-hand correspondence effect: evidence for a location coding account [Articolo su rivista]
Pellicano, Antonello; Lugli, Luisa; Binkofski, Ferdinand; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina; Nicoletti, Roberto
abstract

The handle-to-hand correspondence effect refers to faster and more accurate responses when the responding hand is aligned with the graspable part of an object tool, compared to when they lay on opposite sides. We performed four behavioral experiments to investigate whether this effect depends on the activation of grasping affordances (affordance activation account) or is to be traced back to a Simon effect, resulting from the spatial coding of stimuli and responses and from their dimensional overlap (location coding account). We manipulated the availability of a response alternative by requiring participants to perform either a unimanual go/no-go task (absence of a response alternative) or a joint go/no-go task (available response alternative) and the type of response required (button-press or grasping response). We found no handle-to-hand correspondence effect in the individual go/no-go task either when a button-press (Experiment 1A) or a grasping (Experiment 2A) response was required, whereas a significant effect emerged in the joint go/no-go task, irrespective of response modality (Experiments1B and 2B). These results do not support the idea that complex motor affordances are activated for meaningful objects, but are rather consistent with the more parsimonious location coding account.


2019 - Transdisciplinary design approach based on driver's workload monitoring [Articolo su rivista]
Peruzzini, Margherita; Tonietti, Mara; Iani, Cristina
abstract

Driving is a high-demanding task, related to human capacity, required performance and events occurring in the external environment. Mental workload depends on numerous factors: task difficulty, task complexity, level of traffic, additional activities required by the driving action or imposed by the driver, the contextual conditions, as well as the individual response to stress. The study of driver's workload is crucial in guiding future car design, in order to improve the user experience, comfort as well as driving performance and safety. Indeed, if task demands are too high in relation to the user's capabilities, errors may occur and may become critical for safety. The present paper defines a transdisciplinary approach based on monitoring the driver's workload during driving tasks in order to map the perceived user experience, and finally understand the interaction between the driver and the car systems. The approach is based on three layers: the human conditions to detect, the vital parameters to be monitored, and the adopted monitoring technologies. The paper proposes: a protocol to monitor the driver's workload during both real and simulated tasks, a technological set-up including physiological and performance data collection, and a proper data elaboration strategy. The key findings are: the selection of the most relevant subjective and objective parameters to measure the driver's mental workload, the definition of a preliminary technological set-up for monitoring the workload during simulated driving, and the evaluation of the effects of task complexity and of a secondary task on driver's performance. The research paved the way to further studies about how to miniaturize and embed sensors inside the car for a less intrusive application during real driving. Results can also be used to assess the interaction with car devices and to compare different design alternatives.


2019 - Trial-by-trial modulations in the orienting of attention elicited by gaze and arrow cues [Articolo su rivista]
Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Ricciardelli, Paola; Iani, Cristina
abstract

TRIAL-BY-TRIAL MODULATIONS IN GAZE AND ARROW CUEING 2 Abstract Recent findings suggested that the orienting of attention towards gazed at locations (i.e., the gaze cueing effect) could result from the conflict emerging in incongruent trials between the spatial information conveyed by gaze direction and the target spatial position. In two experiments, we assessed this hypothesis by investigating whether this effect is influenced by the same trial-by-trial modulations that are reported in a spatial conflict task, i.e. the Simon task. In Experiment 1 we compared the trial-by-trial modulations emerging in the Simon task with those emerging in a gaze cueing task, while in Experiment 2 we compared gaze and arrows cues. Trial-by-trial modulations were evident in both tasks. In the Simon task, correspondence sequence affected both corresponding and noncorresponding responses, this resulting in a larger Simon effect when the preceding trial was corresponding and an absent effect when the preceding trial was noncorresponding. Differently, in the gaze cueing task congruence sequence affected only congruent responses with faster responses when the preceding trial was congruent compared to when it was incongruent, resulting in a larger gaze cuing effect when the preceding trial was congruent. Same results were evident with nonpredictive arrow cues. These findings speak against a spatial conflict account.


2019 - Unconfounding compatibiility effects with graspable objects [Poster]
Rubichi, Sandro; Scerrati, Elisa; D’Ascenzo, Stefania; Iani, Cristina; Lugli, Luisa; Nicoletti, Roberto
abstract


2018 - Does the activation of motor information affect semantic processing? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Scerrati, Elisa; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract


2018 - Effects of (grasped) handles alignment on keypress responses with two-handled objects [Poster]
Scerrati, E.; Iani, C.; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Rubichi, S.
abstract


2018 - The influence of vicarious interracial relations on cognitive control in Italian undergraduate students [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Boni, CLAUDIA DARIA; Iani, Cristina; Di bernardo, Gian Antonio; Rubichi, Sandro; Vezzali, Loris
abstract

This study examined the influence of vicarious interracial interactions on cognitive control functioning of Italian white undergraduate students. Sixty students performed the Stroop task watching a video showing an interracial interaction. For half of the participants the video showed a white student being excluded by two black students (exclusion condition), while for the other half the video showed a white student that was accepted in a dyad of two black students (inclusion condition). Prior to viewing the video, participants ́ racial attitudes regarding Whites and Blacks were measured by means of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and of structured questionnaires. Cognitive control functioning was measured by assessing Stroop interference and trial-by- trial conflict adaptations. Results showed that, despite the overall low levels of implicit and explicit racial prejudice, trial-by-trial conflict adaptations differed between the two groups, with the group in the exclusion condition showing less efficient adaptations to conflict. This result is consistent with a resource model of executive control and with the results of recent studies showing that interracial interactions, especially negative ones, deplete executive control.


2018 - The role of perspective in discriminating between social and non-social intentions from reach-to-grasp kinematics [Articolo su rivista]
Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Campanini, Isabella; Merlo, Andrea; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina
abstract

Making correct inferences regarding social and individual intentions may be crucial for successful interactions, especially when we are required to discriminate between cooperative and competitive behaviors. The results of previous studies indicate that reach-to-grasp kinematic parameters may be used to infer the social or individual outcome of a movement. However, the majority of the studies investigated this ability by presenting reach-to-grasp movements from a third-person perspective only. The aim of the present study was to assess whether the ability to recognize the intent associated to a reach-to-grasp movement varies as a function of perspective by manipulating the perspective of observation (second- and third-perspective) within participants. To this end, we presented participants with video clips of models performing a reach-to-grasp movement with different intents. The video clips were recorded both from a lateral view (third-person perspective) and from a frontal view (second-person perspective). After viewing the clips, in two subsequent tasks participants were asked to distinguish between social and non-social intentions by observing the initial phase of the same action recorded from the two different views. Results showed that, when a fast-speed movement was presented from a lateral view, participants were able to predict its social intention. In contrast, when the same movement was observed from a frontal view, performance was impaired. These results indicate that the ability to detect social intentions from motor cues can be biased by the visual perspective of the observer, specifically for fast-speed movements.


2018 - Visual versus auditory Simon effect: a behavioural and physiological investigation. [Articolo su rivista]
D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Baroni, Giulia; Guidotti, Roberto; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina; Nicoletti, Roberto
abstract

The present study investigated whether the visual and auditory Simon effects could be accounted for by the same mechanism. In a single experiment we performed a detailed comparison of the visual and the auditory Simon effects arising in behavioural responses and in pupil dilation, a psychophysiological measure considered as a marker of the cognitive effort induced by conflict processing. To address our question, we performed sequential and distributional analyses on both reaction times and pupil dilation. Results confirmed that the mechanisms underlying the visual and auditory Simon effects are functionally equivalent in terms of the interaction between unconditional and conditional response processes. The two modalities, however, differ with respect to the strength of their activation and inhibition. Importantly, pupillary data mirrored the pattern observed in behavioural data for both tasks, adding physiological evidence to the current literature on the processing of visual and auditory information in a conflict task.


2017 - Le bugie hanno le pupille larghe: Uno studio sul pregiudizio razziale nell’atto del mentire e dire la verità [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Vezzali, Loris; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, Roberto
abstract

E’ ormai noto in letteratura che l’atto del mentire richiede una grande quantità di controllo cognitivo rispetto al dire la verità. Diversi studi infatti hanno riportato tempi di reazione e dilatazione pupillare (indice psicofisiologico associato al carico cognitivo) maggiori quando ai partecipanti viene richiesto di dire la bugia rispetto a dire la verità. Nell’ambito della psicologia sociale, vari studi hanno dimostrato che interagire con un membro del proprio ingroup è più facile rispetto all’interazione con un membro del proprio outgroup. Considerando queste premesse, l’obiettivo di questo lavoro è quello di indagare l’atto del mentire e dire la verità prendendo in considerazione l’interazione con un membro del proprio ingroup o outgroup, identificando la propria appartenenza attraverso la razza (o meglio dire etnia?). Verrà esaminato il carico cognitivo legato a questo processo registrando, oltre ai tempi di reazione, la dilatazione pupillare. E’ stato chiesto a 4 studenti (2 femmine, bianca e di colore e 2 maschi, bianco e di colore) di registrare un breve filmato presentandosi. Ai partecipanti (N = 40) è stato chiesto di interagire con 2 di loro (1 maschio e una femmina) appartenenti al proprio ingroup o outgroup (disegno between) e rispondere a delle domande (risposta dicotomica) dicendo la verità o la bugia. Sono stati misurati i tempi di reazione e la dilatazione pupillare. I risultati sui tempi di reazione mostrano che i partecipanti sono più lenti a mentire rispetto a dire la verità. Questo effetto però non interagisce con il gruppo: mentire al proprio ingroup richiede lo stesso tempo che mentire al proprio outgroup. I risultati sulla dilatazione pupillare, oltre a riflettere il pattern dei tempi di reazione, la pupilla è più dilatata nell’atto del mentire rispetto al dire la verità, emerge un effetto principale legato al gruppo: la pupilla si dilata maggioremente quando i partecipanti interagiscono con i membri del proprio ingroup rispetto al proprio outgroup. Questi risultati dimostrano che l’atto del mentire richiede uno sforzo maggiore rispetto all’atto del dire la verità ma sembra che a livello comportamentale questo processo non venga influezato dal gruppo di appartenenza. Invece, considerando le risposte pupillari, i partecipanti fanno uno sforzo maggiore nel rispondere a membri del proprio ingroup riflettendo un un ruolo del pregiudizio a livello automatico (inconsapevole) nell’interazione con membri del proprio ingroup o outgroup.


2016 - Action-space coding in social contexts [Articolo su rivista]
Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Lugli, Luisa; Nicoletti, Roberto; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina
abstract

In two behavioural experiments we tested whether performing a spatial task along with another agent changes space representation by rendering some reference frames more/less salient than others. To this end, we used a Simon task in which stimuli were presented in four horizontal locations thus allowing for spatial coding according to multiple frames of reference. In Experiment 1 participants performed a go/no-go Simon task along another agent, each being in charge of one response. In Experiment 2 they performed a two-choice Simon task along another agent, each being in charge of two responses. Results showed that when participants were in charge of only one response, stimulus position was coded only with reference to the centre of the screen hence suggesting that the co-actor's response, or the position of the co-actor, was represented and used as a reference for spatial coding. Differently, when participants were in charge of two responses, no effect of the social context emerged and spatial coding relied on multiple frames of reference, similarly to when the Simon task is performed individually. These findings provide insights on the influence played by the interaction between the social context (i.e. the presence of others) and task features on individual performance.


2016 - Age-Related Cortical Thickness Reduction in Non-Demented Down’s Syndrome Subjects [Articolo su rivista]
Romano, Andrea; Cornia, Riccardo; Moraschi, Marta; Bozzao, Alessandro; Chiacchiararelli, Laura; Coppola, Valeria; Iani, Cristina; Stella, Giacomo; Albertini, Giorgio; Pierallini, Alberto
abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristic pattern of age-related cortical thinning in patients with Down Syndrome (DS), as assessed by MRI and automatic cortical thickness measurements. METHODS: Ninety-one non-demented subjects with DS (range 11-53 years) were examined using a 1.5 T scanner. MRI-based quantification of cortical thickness was performed using FreeSurfer software package., The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient between age and mean cortical thickness was evaluated for all subjects participating in the study. RESULTS: A significant negative correlation between cortical thickness and age was found bilaterally in the frontal, temporal, parietal and cingulate gyrus. Specific investigation of cerebral lobes showed a more evident involvement of the frontal one, compared to others. Moreover, the age related reduction of cortical thickness appeared to be more significant and rapid in patients between 20 and 30 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings showed that Down Syndrome subjects are affected by a diffuse cortical thinning. The involvement of cortical structures can be observed at an earlier age than previous studies have reported.


2016 - Disembodied Mind: Cortical Changes Following Brainstem Injury in Patients with Locked-in Syndrome [Articolo su rivista]
Pistoia, Francesca; Cornia, Riccardo; Conson, Massimiliano; Gosseries, Olivia; Carolei, Antonio; Sacco, Simona; Quattrocchi, Carlo C.; Mallio, Carlo A.; Iani, Cristina; Di Mambro, Debora; Sarà, Marco
abstract

Locked-in syndrome (LIS) following ventral brainstem damage is the most severe form of motor disability. Patients are completely entrapped in an unresponsive body despite consciousness is preserved. Although the main feature of LIS is this extreme motor impairment, minor non-motor dysfunctions such as motor imagery defects and impaired emotional recognition have been reported suggesting an alteration of embodied cognition, defined as the effects that the body and its performances may have on cognitive domains. We investigated the presence of structural cortical changes in LIS, which may account for the reported cognitive dysfunctions. For this aim, magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired in 11 patients with LIS (6 males and 5 females; mean age: 52.3±5.2SD years; mean time interval from injury to evaluation: 9±1.2SD months) and 44 healthy control subjects matching patients for age, sex and education. Freesurfer software was used to process data and to estimate cortical volumes in LIS patients as compared to healthy subjects. Results showed a selective cortical volume loss in patients involving the superior frontal gyrus, the pars opercularis and the insular cortex in the left hemisphere, and the superior and medium frontal gyrus, the pars opercularis, the insular cortex, and the superior parietal lobule in the right hemisphere. As these structures are typically associated with the mirror neuron system, which represents the neural substrate for embodied simulation processes, our results provide neuroanatomical support for potential disembodiment in LIS.


2016 - Interactive effects between gaze direction and facial expression on attentional resources deployment: the task instruction and context matter [Articolo su rivista]
Ricciardelli, Paola; Lugli, Luisa; Pellicano, Antonello; Iani, Cristina; Nicoletti, Roberto
abstract

In three experiments, we tested whether the amount of attentional resources needed to process a face displaying neutral/angry/fearful facial expressions with direct or averted gaze depends on task instructions, and face presentation. To this end, we used a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation paradigm in which participants in Experiment 1 were first explicitly asked to discriminate whether the expression of a target face (T1) with direct or averted gaze was angry or neutral, and then to judge the orientation of a landscape (T2). Experiment 2 was identical to Experiment 1 except that participants had to discriminate the gender of the face of T1 and fearful faces were also presented randomly inter-mixed within each block of trials. Experiment 3 differed from Experiment 2 only because angry and fearful faces were never presented within the same block. The findings indicated that the presence of the attentional blink (AB) for face stimuli depends on specific combinations of gaze direction and emotional facial expressions and crucially revealed that the contextual factors (e.g., explicit instruction to process the facial expression and the presence of other emotional faces) can modify and even reverse the AB, suggesting a flexible and more contextualized deployment of attentional resources in face processing.


2016 - Practice-induced and sequential modulations in the Simon task: evidence from pupil dilation [Articolo su rivista]
D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Iani, Cristina; Guidotti, Roberto; Laeng, Bruno; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Recent evidence showed that pupil dilation (PD) reflects modulations in the magnitude of the Simon interference effect due to correspondence sequence. In the present study we used this measure to assess whether these modulations, thought to result from cognitive control mechanisms, are influenced by prior practice with an incompatible stimulus-response (S-R) mapping. To this end, PD and reaction times (RTs) were recorded while participants performed a Simon task before and after executing a spatially incompatible practice. The sequential analysis revealed that PD mirrored the conflict-adaptation pattern observed in RTs. Crucially, sequential modulations were not affected by prior practice. These findings support the view that the modulations of the Simon effect due to prior practice and those due to correspondence sequence result from two different mechanisms, and suggest that PD can help to better understand the mechanisms underlying response selection and cognitive control in the Simon task.


2016 - Relazione tra campo dipendenza-indipendenza e controllo cognitivo [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Ricciardelli, Paola; Nicoletti, Roberto
abstract

The present study aimed at investigating the relation between field dependence-independence, measured by means of the Embedded Figure Test (EFT), and performance on the Simon task, which is usually employed to assess cognitive control processes. 20 participants classified as field-dependent and 20 participants classified as field-independent were administered a Simon task in which they had to emit a lateralized response according to the color of a left or right- presented stimulus by ignoring its location. Results showed a larger Simon effect (i.e., faster responses when stimulus and response locations spatially corresponded than when they did not correspond) for participants classified as field dependent than for those classified as field independent. The analysis of the Simon effect as a function of correspondence sequence showed no difference between the two groups. These results seem to suggest that the ability to deal with a conflict within a trial and the ability to modify performance based on the conflict experienced in a prior trial depend on different mechanisms. Our data suggest that only the first ability is related to the cognitive style of field dependence-independence.


2015 - Age effects on cortical thickness in young Down's syndrome subjects: a cross-sectional gender study. [Articolo su rivista]
Romano, Andrea; Moraschi, Marta; Cornia, Riccardo; Bozzao, Alessandro; Gagliardo, Olga; Chiacchiararelli, Laura; Iani, Cristina; Stella, Giacomo; Albertini, Giorgio; Pierallini, Alberto
abstract

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to determine differences in the characteristic pattern of age-related cortical thinning in men and women with Down's syndrome (DS) by means of MRI and automatic cortical thickness measurements and a cross-sectional design, in a large cohort of young subjects. METHODS: Eighty-four subjects with DS, 30 females (11-35 years, mean age ± SD = 22.8 ± 5.9) and 54 males (11-35 years, mean age ± SD = 21.5 ± 6.5), were examined using a 1.5-T scanner. MRI-based quantification of cortical thickness was performed using FreeSurfer software package. For all subjects participating in the study, the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient between age and mean cortical thickness values has been evaluated. RESULTS: A significant negative correlation between cortical thickness and age was found in female DS subjects, predominantly in frontal and parietal lobes, bilaterally. In male DS subjects, a significant negative correlation between cortical thickness and age was found in the right fronto-temporal lobes and cingulate regions. Whole brain mean cortical thickness values were significantly negative correlated with age only in female DS subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Females with Down's syndrome showed a strong correlation between cortical thickness and age, already in early age. We suggest that the cognitive impairment due to hormonal deficit in the postmenopausal period could be emphasized by the early structural decline of gray matter in female DS subjects.


2015 - Eyes keep watch over you! Competition enhances joint attention in females. [Articolo su rivista]
Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Ricciardelli, Paola; Lugli, Luisa; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina
abstract

The present study investigated if the gaze-cuing effect (i.e., the tendency for observers to respond faster to targets in locations that were cued by others' gaze direction than to not-cued targets) is modulated by the type of relationship (i.e., cooperative or competitive) established during a previous interaction with a cuing face. In two experiments, participants played a series of single-shot games of a modified version of the two-choice Prisoner's Dilemma against eight simulated contenders. They were shown a fictive feedback indicating if the opponents chose to cooperate or compete with them. Opponents' faces were then used as stimuli in a standard gazecuing task. In Experiment 1 females classified as average in competitiveness were tested, while in Experiment 2 females classified as high and low in competitiveness were tested. We found that only in females classified as low and average in competitiveness the gaze-cuing effect for competitive contenders was greater than for cooperative contenders. These findings suggest that competitive opponents represent a relevant source of information within the social environment and female observers with low and average levels of competition cannot prevent from keeping their eyes over them.


2015 - Relazione tra effetto Simon e campo dipendenza-indipendenza [Capitolo/Saggio]
Nicoletti, Roberto; Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Ricciardelli, Paola; Iani, Cristina
abstract

Presentazione di uno studio sperimentale volto ad indagare la relazione tra stile cogntivo di campo dipendenza-indipendenza e funzionamento attentivo


2015 - Spatial parameters at the basis of social transfer of learning [Articolo su rivista]
Lugli, Luisa; Iani, Cristina; Milanese, Nadia; Sebanz, Natalie; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Recent research indicates that practicing on a joint spatial compatibility task with an incompatible stimulus-response mapping affects subsequent joint Simon task performance, eliminating the social Simon effect. It has been well established that in individual contexts, for transfer of learning to occur, participants need to practice an incompatible association between stimulus and response positions. The mechanisms underlying transfer of learning in joint task performance are, however, less well understood. The present study was aimed at assessing the relative contribution of three different spatial relations characterizing the joint practice context: stimulus-response, stimulus-participant and participant-response relations. In three experiments we manipulated the stimulus-response, stimulus-participant, and response-participant associations. We found that learning from the practice task did not transfer to the subsequent task when during practice stimulus-response associations were spatially incompatible and stimulus-participant associations were compatible (Experiment 1). However, a transfer of learning was evident when stimulus-participant associations were spatially incompatible. This occurred both when response-participant associations were incompatible (Experiment 2) and when they were compatible (Experiment 3). These results seem to support an agent co-representation account of correspondence effects emerging in joint settings since they suggest that, in social contexts, critical to obtain transfer-of-learning effects is the spatial relation between stimulus and participant positions while the spatial relation between stimulus and response positions is irrelevant.


2014 - L’attivazione emotiva legata all’elaborazione delle espressioni: effetti di priming affettivo in bambini e adolescenti [Articolo su rivista]
L., Lugli; Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti; P., Ricciardelli
abstract

Secondo la teoria dell’appraisal gli stimoli rilevanti per gli obiettivi dell’individuo, in particolare gli stimoli che presentano caratteristiche sociali (e.g., volti impauriti con sguardo deviato), vengono elaborati dal sistema attentivo in modo prioritario. Utilizzando il paradigma di priming affettivo, si è cercato di indagare se e come l’elaborazione di specifiche combinazioni tra espressione facciale e direzione dello sguardo attivi una valutazione emotiva e se tale attivazione perduri tanto da andare ad influenzare (i.e., facilitare o ritardare) l’elaborazione di uno stimolo emotivo presentato successivamente. In particolare si è testato come questo processo si differenzia in relazione all’età (bambini vs. adolescenti). I risultati hanno dimostrato una specificità dell’interferenza dell’emozione legata all’età: solo il gruppo degli adolescenti, infatti, ha mostrato di cogliere l’associazione riguardante la connotazione emotiva tra due stimoli.


2014 - L'effetto Affordance viene modulato dalla presenza di un secondo partecipante? [Capitolo/Saggio]
Roberto, Nicoletti; Luisa, Lugli; Antonello, Pellicano; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Molte ricerche hanno messo in luce come l’elaborazione di immagini di oggetti afferrabili possa influenzare il nostro sistema motorio anche quando l’interazione reale con tali oggetti non è richiesta. È stato infatti dimostrato che anche la sola percezione di un oggetto implica l’attivazione di una serie di azioni congruenti con le proprietà visibili di quell’oggetto come, ad esempio, l’orientamento della sua parte afferrabile (i.e., effetto affordance). Negli ultimi anni lo studio delle affordance ha riscosso molto interesse tuttavia questo si è focalizzato principalmente sull’indagine di azioni semplici come ad esempio il raggiungimento e l’afferramento di un oggetto, tralasciando invece l’aspetto sociale dell’interazione motoria con gli oggetti. Ad esempio, è stato trascurato come le affordance di un oggetto possano modificarsi in funzione di una condizione sociale, cioè in funzione della presenza di altri agenti nel contesto in cui l’oggetto è inserito. Nel presente studio si è cercato di indagare se l’effetto affordance possa essere in un qualche modo modulato dalla presenza di altro agente attivo nel contesto sperimentale in cui un oggetto richiede una risposta. A tal fine è stata impiegata la condizione sperimentale più frequentemente utilizzata negli studi che hanno indagato il ruolo del contesto sociale sull’effetto Simon. I risultati evidenziano un pattern simile a quello emerso in tali studi. Infatti, nella condizione go/no-go l’effetto non è emerso, mentre si è osservato quando i partecipanti erano inseriti in una condizione sociale e condividevano l’esecuzione del compito. Da questi risultati si può preliminarmente concludere che l’effetto affordance e l’effetto Simon condividano alcuni meccanismi d’azione sia nella condizione individuale, sia in quella sociale.


2014 - Rappresentazione spaziale nel compito Simon sociale: esistono codici spaziali multipli? [Poster]
Iani, Cristina; Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; ., ; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Introduzione. Studi recenti hanno dimostrato che, così come avviene in un compito Simon classico, in un compito Simon sociale il contesto condiviso porta alla codifica spaziale destra-sinistra dello stimolo e della risposta. In un compito Simon classico la posizione dello stimolo nello spazio è descritta da due tipi di codici spaziali: uno è determinato in base all’asse centrale dello spazio ed è definito come posizione assoluta, mentre l'altro è determinato in relazione all’emi-spazio di riferimento e può essere definito posizione relativa. In questo studio abbiamo indagato il ruolo di questi due codici nel produrre gli effetti di compatibilità spaziale in un compito condiviso. Metodo. I partecipanti (32, destrimani) sono stati assegnati in modo casuale a una delle due condizioni sperimentali: individuale o sociale. Nella condizione individuale, il partecipante eseguiva il compito da solo ed era seduto a destra o a sinistra rispetto al centro dello schermo. Nella condizione sociale, i partecipanti eseguivano il compito a coppie ed erano seduti uno accanto all’altro. In entrambe le condizioni è stato chiesto ai partecipanti di eseguire un compito Simon go/no-go, in cui lo schermo appariva suddiviso da tre linee verticali, che determinavano le 4 possibili posizioni dello stimolo. Risultati. All’interno di ciascun emi-spazio, i tempi di risposta sono risultati più lenti per le posizioni relative dello stimolo più esterne rispetto a quelle più interne. Inoltre, i risultati hanno mostrato un effetto di compatibilità tra la posizione della risposta e la posizione assoluta dello stimolo (effetto Simon per la posizione assoluta dello stimolo) solo nella condizione sociale, mentre per la condizione individuale nessun effetto di compatibilità è emerso. Conclusioni. I risultati indicano che quando due individui eseguono un compito condiviso la posizione dello stimolo è descritta attraverso un unico codice spaziale, cioè in base alla sua posizione assoluta nello spazio.


2014 - Response inhibition and adaptations to response conflict in 6-to 8-year-old children: Evidence from the Simon effect [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Stella, Giacomo; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Several studies have shown that the Simon effect, which is the advantage of spatial correspondence between stimulus and response locations when the stimulus location is task-irrelevant, decreases with increasing response times and is affected by preceding-trial correspondence. These mod- ulations suggest the existence of control mechanisms that adapt our behavior to current goals by responding to the conflict experienced within a trial and by preventing the recurrence of a conflict in the subsequent trial. The aim of the present study was to assess whether these control mecha- nisms, which are well consolidated in adults and in children older than 8 years of age, are present in children between 6 and 8 years old. To this end, we tested 32 first-grade (6–7 years) and 34 second-grade (7–8 years) children on a Simon task in which correspondence sequence was manipulated on a trial- by-trial basis. The Simon effect was larger for first- than for second-graders and decreased with increasing response times only in second-graders. Crucially, for both groups, the effect was reduced when the preceding trial was noncorresponding, and the reductions were comparable for the two groups, indicating that trial-by-trial control mechanisms are already present in first-grade children and may be dissociated from within-trial control adjustments.


2014 - The carry-over effect of competition in task-sharing: Evidence from the joint Simon task [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Filomena, Anelli; Roberto, Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

The Simon effect, that is the advantage of the spatial correspondence between stimulus and response locations when stimulus location is a task-irrelevant dimension, occurs even when the task is performed together by two participants, each performing a go/no-go task. Previous studies showed that this joint Simon effect, considered by some authors as a measure of self-other integration, does not emerge when during task performance co-actors are required to compete. The present study investigated whether and for how long competition experienced during joint performance of one task can affect performance in a following joint Simon task. In two experiments, we required pairs of participants to perform together a social Simon task, before and after jointly performing together an unrelated non-spatial task (the Eriksen flanker task). In Experiment 1, participants always performed the joint Simon task under neutral instructions, before and after performing the joint flanker task in which they were explicitly required either to cooperate with (i.e., cooperative condition) or to compete against a co-actor (i.e., competitive condition). In Experiment 2, they were required to compete during the joint flanker task and to cooperate during the subsequent joint Simon task. Competition experienced in one task affected the way the subsequent joint task was performed, as revealed by the lack of the joint Simon effect, even though, during the Simon task participants were not required to compete (Experiment 1). However, prior competition no longer affected subsequent performance if a new goal that created positive interdependence between the two agents was introduced (Experiment 2). These results suggest that the emergence of the joint Simon effect is significantly influenced by how the goals of the co-acting individuals are related, with the effect of competition extending beyond the specific competitive setting and affecting subsequent interactions.


2014 - The influence of prior practice and handedness on the orthogonal Simon effect [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Milanese, Nadia; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

When stimuli are arranged vertically and responses horizontally, right-handed participants respond faster with right responses to stimuli presented above fixation and with left responses to stimuli presented below fixation, even when stimulus position is task-irrelevant (orthogonal Simon effect). The aim of the present work was twofold. First, we assessed whether the orthogonal Simon effect evident in right-handed participants is present also for left-handed participants (Experiment 1). Second, we investigated whether for both groups of participants the orthogonal Simon effect is influenced by the stimulus-response (S-R) mapping used for an orthogonal spatial S-R compatibility task performed 5 min before (Experiment 2). Our results showed that the orthogonal Simon effect significantly differed in the two groups, with left-handers showing an advantage for the up-left/down-right mapping (Experiment 1). Interestingly, the orthogonal Simon effect was strongly influenced by prior practice regardless of the participants’ handedness (Experiment 2). These results suggest that the short-term S-R associations acquired during practice can override the long-term, hardwired associations established on the basis of handedness.


2013 - Emergence of the go/no-go Simon effect by means of practice and mixing paradigms [Articolo su rivista]
Luisa, Lugli; Iani, Cristina; Roberto, Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

In two experiments, we tested whether the emergence of the go/no-go Simon effect could be determined by the strengthening of one specific S–R link in location-relevant trials performed right before (practice paradigm) or simultaneously (mixing paradigm) with the location-irrelevant (Simon) trials. Results showed a clear carry-over effect of the association between stimulus position and spatial response from the first task to the second one (Experiment 1) andwhen the two tasks were performed simultaneously (Experiment 2), even if participants were required to respond with the same key to only half of the stimuli (go/no-go tasks). We found that associative learning between the stimulus and response positions occurring during the go/no-go compatibility task, that is when location was relevant, influenced the way the go/no-go location-irrelevant task (Simon task) was performed. Our findings suggest that the STM links formed during a go/no-go spatial compatibility task are strong enough to influence the go/no-go Simon task.


2013 - Modulation of the affordance effect through transfer of learning [Articolo su rivista]
G., Ottoboni; Iani, Cristina; A., Tessari; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Consistent evidence shows that practising with spatially incompatible stimulus–response trials modu- lates performance on following tasks requiring the solution of cognitive conflict such as the Simon and Stroop tasks. In the present study we assessed whether a spatially incompatible practice can modulate another effect that is thought to be due to a conflict between two response alternatives, the affordance effect. To this end, we requested participants to categorize pictures of common objects on the basis of their upright or inverted orientation. A group of participants performed the categorization task alone, while the other two groups performed the categorization task after practising with a spatial compatibility task with either a compatible or an incompatible mapping. Results showed that the spatially incompa- tible practice eliminated the affordance effect. These results indicate that the conflict at the basis of the affordance effect is not unavoidable but it rather permeable to modulations affecting the response selec- tion stage. Indeed the “emit the alternative spatial response” rule acquired during the spatially incom- patible task can transfer to and modulate how the subsequent affordance task is performed.


2013 - Observational learning without a model is influenced by the observer?s possibility to act: Evidence from the Simon task [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Ferraro, Luca; Roberto, Nicoletti; Vittorio, Gallese
abstract

We assessed whether observational learning in perceptual-motor tasks is affected by the visibility of an action producing perceived environmental effects and by the observer’s possibility to act during observation. To this end, we conducted three experiments in which participants were required to observe a spatial compatibility task in which only the effects of computer-generated responses were visible before executing a Simon task. In Experiment 1, we compared the effects of a passively observed practice with either a spatially compatible or incompatible stimulus–response (S–R) association. In Experiment 2, during the observed spatially incompatible practice participants were prevented from potentially acting, either because a plexiglas barrier separated the participant from the response device rendering it out of reach; or because the participant’s hands were tied; or the device affording a response was absent. In Experiment 3, the plexiglas presented an opening that could allow the participant to potentially reach and interact with it. As when the practice is physically performed, we found an elimination of the Simon effect following a spatially incompatible observed practice, suggesting that participants learned an incompatible S– R association by observing and transferred this knowledge to the subsequent Simon task. No evidence of transfer of learning was found when, during passive observation, the participant’s hands were tied, or a barrier prevented him/her from potentially interacting with the device, or no response device was present. Differently, a transfer-of-learning effect was observed when the barrier presented an opening. These results suggest that learning can derive from the mere observation of action effects, even when an action is not visible, as long as the observer has the potential to act.


2013 - Spatial correspondence parameters at the basis of transfer of learning in social contexts. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
L., Lugli; Iani, Cristina; N., Milanese; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Recent works indicated that performing a joint spatial compatibility task with an incompatible stimulus-response mapping affects subsequent joint Simon task performance, eliminating the social Simon effect (social transfer of learning effect or SToL effect). Crucially, the SToL effect was not tuned to the specific identity of the co-actor, and depended on the overlap between the spatial relations of the practice and transfer tasks. Starting from these findings, this study aimed at investigating which spatial relations between stimulus (S), response (R) or participant (P) positions are relevant for the SToL effect to occur. Two experiments were run in which the participant-response associations were incompatible (participants were required to respond with crossed arms), whereas the stimulus-response and stimulus-participant associations were manipulated. We found that learning derived from the practice task did not transfer to the subsequent task when stimulus-response associations were spatially incompatible and stimulus-participant associations were compatible (Experiment 1). However, a SToL effect was evident when stimulus-participant associations were spatially incompatible and stimulus-response associations were compatible (Experiment 2), hence suggesting that the spatial relation between stimulus and participant positions is crucial for the SToL effect to occur.


2012 - Gaze direction and facial expressions exert combined but different effects on attentional resources [Articolo su rivista]
P., Ricciardelli; Iani, Cristina; L., Lugli; A., Pellicano; R., Nicoletti
abstract

Gaze direction and facial expressions are critical components of face processing and have been shown to influence attention deployment. We investigated whether gaze direction (direct vs. averted) combined with a neutral or angry expression modulates the deployment of attentional resources over time. In a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation paradigm participants had to decide the gender of a neutral or an angry target face with direct or averted gaze (T1) and then to judge the orientation of a target picture of a landscape (T2), following the face at different time intervals. Results showed no Attentional Blink effect (i.e., no deterioration in T2 accuracy) when T1 was an angry face with direct gaze, whereas it was present for angry faces with averted gaze or neutral faces with either averted or direct gaze. These findings are consistent with appraisal theories and are discussed against the background of automatic processing of threat stimuli.


2012 - L’influenza dell’interdipendenza sulla costruzione di rappresentazioni condivise [Articolo su rivista]
F., Anelli; R., Nicoletti; L., Arcuri; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina
abstract

Il presente lavoro ha voluto indagare se l’emergere di rappresentazioni condivise, ritenute essere alla base dell’azione condivisa, possa essere influenzato da fattori sociali, quali l’appartenenza di gruppo ed il rapporto di interdipendenza che lega due co-agenti. Tenendo in considerazione alcuni costrutti derivanti dalla psicologia sociale, in due esperimenti è stato chiesto ai partecipanti di svolgere insieme un compito Simon, manipolando la percezione di appartenenza allo stesso gruppo in base ad una categorizzazione sperimentale creata ad-hoc (Esperimento 1: coppie appartenenti vs. coppie non appartenenti alla stessa categoria) e il tipo di relazione di interdipendenza (Esperimento 2: situazione cooperativa vs. competitiva). I risultati dimostrano come l’effetto Simon sociale non sia modulato da una semplice categorizzazione in gruppi, ma sia significativamente influenzato dal tipo di interdipendenza percepita. L’effetto Simon risulta infatti assente solo nella situazione competitiva. Questi dati suggerirebbero che in condizioni di interazione, di norma, gli individui tendono a costruire rappresentazioni condivise che presuppongono la cooperazione tra individui. Mentre l’appartenenza a gruppi diversi non compromette la costruzione di rappresentazioni condivise, l’interazione competitiva tra gli individui della stessa coppia la influenza negativamente.


2012 - Look What I Am Doing: Does Observational Learning Take Place in Evocative Task-Sharing Situations? [Articolo su rivista]
Ferraro, Luca; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; R., Nicoletti; V., Gallese; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Two experiments were conducted to investigate whether physical and observational practice in task-sharing entail comparable implicit motor learning. To this end, the social-transfer-of-learning (SToL) effect was assessed when both participants performed the joint practice task (Experiment 1 – complete task-sharing), or when one participant observed the other performing half of the practice task (Experiment 2 – evocative task-sharing). Since the inversion of the spatial relations between responding agent and stimulus position has been shown to prevent SToL, in the present study we assessed it in both complete and evocative task-sharing conditions either when spatial relations were kept constant or changed from the practice to the transfer session. The same pattern of results was found for both complete and evocative task-sharing, thus suggesting that implicit motor learning in evocative task-sharing is equivalent to that obtained in complete task-sharing. We conclude that this motor learning originates from the simulation of the complementary (rather than the imitative) action.


2011 - Action observation causes implicit transfer of learning in task-sharing. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Rubichi, Sandro; Ferraro, Luca; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; V., Gallese; R., Nicoletti
abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the implicit transfer of learning found in task-sharing situations occurs when one of the two participants observes the other. To this aim, two experiments using the social transfer of learning paradigm (Milanese et al., 2010) were conducted in which one of the participants observed the other performing a practice task. Then, both participants performed a joint Simon task. Results showed a modulation of the joint performance (i.e., the social Simon task), indicative of implicit transfer of learning, in both the agent and the observer. Thus, transfer of learning occurs even if the practice task is not actually performed hence indicating that both the agent and the observer co-represent the task as involving two co-acting partners. On the whole, these results suggest that shared representations are based on motor parameters.


2011 - Between-task transfer of learning from spatial compatibility to a color Stroop task [Articolo su rivista]
Marini, Maddalena; Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Responses to a relevant stimulus dimension are faster and more accurate when the stimulus and response spatially correspond compared to when they do not, even though stimulus position isirrelevant (Simon effect). It has been demonstrated that practicing with an incompatible spatial stimulus-response (S-R) mapping before performing a Simon task can eliminate this effect. In the present study we assessed whether a learned spatially incompatible S-R mapping can be transferred to a non-spatial conflict task, hence supporting the view that transfer effects are due to acquisition of a general “respond to the opposite stimulus value” rule. To this aim, we ran two xperiments in which participants performed a spatial compatibility task with either a compatible or an incompatible mapping and then transferred, after a 5 minutes delay, to a color Stroop task. InExperiment 1, responses were executed by pressing one of two keys on the keyboard in both practice and transfer tasks. In Experiment 2, responses were manual in the practice task and vocal in the transfer task. The spatially incompatible practice significantly reduced the color Stroop effect only when responses were manual in both tasks. These results suggest that during practice participants develop a response-selection strategy of emitting the alternative spatial response.


2011 - Contextual determinants of the social-transfer-of-learning effect [Articolo su rivista]
Milanese, Nadia; Iani, Cristina; Sebanz, N.; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

A recent study (Milanese et al. in Cogn 116(1):15-22, 2010) showed that performing a spatial compatibility task with incompatible S-R links (i.e., the practice task) alongside a co-actor eliminates the Simon effect in a subsequent joint Simon task (i.e., the transfer task). In the present study, we conducted three experiments to individuate which elements of the practice task need to remain constant for this social-transfer-of-learning to occur. In Experiment 1, participants performed the practice task alongside a co-actor and the Simon task with a different co-actor; in Experiment 2, they performed the practice task alongside a co-actor and the Simon task with the same co-actor after exchanging their seats. Results showed a modulation of the joint Simon effect in Experiment 1 only. In Experiment 2, we found a regular joint Simon effect. These results indicate that, while co-actor identity is not crucial, other elements of the context, such as keeping the same position across tasks, are necessary for the social-transfer-of-learning to occur. On the whole, our data suggest that the social-transfer-of-learning effect is not tuned to a specific co-actor and depends on spatial parameters of the practice and transfer tasks.


2011 - Facilitation and interference components in the joint Simon task [Articolo su rivista]
Ferraro, Luca; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; N., Milanese; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Two experiments were conducted to assess whether the joint Simon effect is composed of facilitation and interference and whether facilitation is increased by a joint spatially compatible practice performed before performing the joint Simon task. In both experiments, participants were required to perform a Simon task along another person. Trials could be corresponding, non-corresponding, and neutral. In Experiment 1, participants performed only the Simon task. In Experiment 2, participants first practiced on a joint spatial compatibility task with a compatible mapping and, after a 5-min delay, transferred to a joint Simon task. Results indicated that the joint Simon effect consisted primarily of interference, which was significantly increased by a spatially compatible practice performed jointly. These results allow us to better define in what ways the presence of the other influences performance, in showing that when participants perform a task along with another individual, they display a disadvantage (i.e., slower RTs) when they have to respond to stimuli appearing on the other agent's side.


2011 - On the relationship between affordance and Simon effects: Are the effects really independent? [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; G., Baroni; A., Pellicano; R., Nicoletti
abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between the Affordance effect (i.e., the advantage for responses corresponding spatially with the location of an object’s graspable part) and the Simon effect (i.e., the advantage for responses corresponding spatially with stimulus location) and to assess whether they both occur at the response selection stage. In two experiments participants were required to respond according to the vertical orientation (upward or inverted) of photographs of graspable objects, located to the left or right of fixation, with their handles oriented to the right or left. In Experiment 1 the response consisted in a button-press, while in Experiment 2 it consisted in a reaching movement. Our results showed that both Simon and Affordance effects emerged in response times but not in movement times. While in Experiment 1, the two effects did not interact, a clear interaction emerged in Experiment 2. These results seem to suggest that the interaction between Simon and Affordance effects may depend on the type of required action.


2011 - Sulla natura delle rappresentazioni condivise [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti
abstract

Nell’ambito di compiti percettivo-motori è noto da tempo come la prestazione di un individuo cambi in presenza di un altro individuo. Rispetto alla semplice percezione delle azioni altrui, l’abilità di svolgere azioni condivise prevede necessariamente la comprensione dei compiti e la capacità di anticipare il comportamento altrui allo scopo di raggiungere un efficace coordinamento coordinato. In altre parole, alla base di una efficace prestazione condivisa c’è una pianificazione del comportamento che prevede le azioni e i compiti che l’altro potenzialmente può svolgere. Come suggerito da studi recenti, l’insieme di queste abilità dipende dalla capacità di creare rappresentazioni condivise del compito, in cui sono integrate nello stesso piano comportamentale le azioni attuali e future, proprie e dell’altro agente. Lo scopo del presente lavoro è analizzare la natura delle rappresentazioni condivise ed i meccanismi cognitivi alla loro base.


2011 - The role of group membership on the modulation of joint action [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; F., Anelli; R., Nicoletti; L., Arcuri; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Two experiments were conducted to assess whether the emergence of shared representations, as indexed by the joint Simon effect, is modulated by perceived group membership. In both experiments, participants were required to perform a Simon task along another person who was perceived as belonging either to the same group or to a different group. In Experiment 1, ingroup-outgroup discrimination was obtained by dividing participants into two groups based on a superficial criterion; in Experiment 2, it was obtained by manipulating the interdependence experienced by the two acting individuals. The mere social categorization of co-acting participants into groups did not modulate the joint Simon effect which was observed even when participants believed to perform the task along with an individual belonging to a different social group (Experiment 1). On the contrary, the effect was modulated by perceived interdependence, with a null effect when participants experienced negative interdependence (Experiment 2). These results suggest that when acting in a social context, by default, individuals may perceive positive interdependence with co-acting individuals, even when cooperation is not explicitly requested.


2010 - La costruzione di rappresentazioni condivise: Il ruolo delle variabili sociali [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
F., Anelli; Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti; L., Arcuri; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Nel panorama della psicologia cognitiva e delle neuroscienze cognitive, stanno acquisendo sempre maggiore importanza gli studi sulle azioni condivise, intese come “qualsiasi forma di interazione sociale attraverso la quale due o più persone coordinano le loro azioni nello spazio e nel tempo per apportare un cambiamento nell’ambiente”. E’ stato ipotizzato che la capacità di interagire in modo efficiente con gli altri e di coordinare le proprie azioni con le azioni altrui dipenda dalla creazione di rappresentazioni condivise che integrano le azioni proprie e quelle dell’altro. La presente ricerca si propone di indagare l’influenza che variabili sociali, quali l’appartenenza dei partecipanti allo stesso gruppo e la relazione di interdipendenza, possono avere sul processo di formazione delle rappresentazioni condivise.


2010 - Per quale ragione l'effetto Simon sociale è di minore entità rispetto a quello individuale? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ferraro, Luca; Milanese, Nadia; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

InunclassicocompitoSimonsievidenzianorispostepiùvelociepiùaccuratequandolaposizionedicomparsadellostimoloelaposizionedellarispostacorrettacorrispondono(stimoloadestra,rispostacorrettaadestra)rispettoaquandoessenoncorrispondono(stimoloadestrarispostacorrettaasinistra).RecentistudihannodimostratocheseduepartecipantieseguonoilcompitoSimoninsiemeedinmodocomplementare,laprestazioneèsimileaquandoilcompitoèsvoltoindividualmente(Sebanzetal.,2003).Analogamenteallaprestazioneindividuale,untrainingspazialecondivisoconmappingstimolo-risposta(S-R)incompatibileèingradodieliminarel'effettoSimon(Milaneseetal.,2010).Questoeffetto(definitoSimonsociale)ètuttaviadiminoreentitàrispettoaquelloindividuale.Scopodiquestolavoroèindagareselaminorentitàdell’effettoSimonsocialedipendadaunaminoreentitàdiunasuacomponente(facilitazioneeinterferenza,sivedaUmiltàetal.,1999)odaunaminoreentitàdientrambelecomponenti.Inoltre,vistalaminoreentitàdell’effettoSimonsociale,sivuoleindagareseuntrainingspazialecondivisoconmappingS-Rcompatibileaumentil'entitàdell'effetto.


2010 - Real life motor training modifies spatial performance: The advantage of being drummers [Articolo su rivista]
A., Pellicano; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; P., Ricciardelli; A. M., Borghi; R., Nicoletti
abstract

We compared the performance of skilled drummers to that of non-drummers and non-musicians in the Simon and spatial stimulus-response compatibility (SRC) tasks to investigate whether and to what extent spatial performance can be modified by motor behaviors acquired in real life.Drummers were chosen because, compared to other musicians and to the general population, their efficient performance mainly depends on the processing of spatial information.While the Simon effect was equivalent for the three groups, the spatial SRC effect was less pronounced in drummers. The advantage was present even when feet were used as respondingeffectors, suggesting a central locus of the effect. These results suggest that spatial S-R translations are influenced by real life motor training, with drummers’ training speeding-up theintentional S-R translations when stimulus and response locations are on opposite sides.


2010 - Shared learning shapes human performance:Transfer effects in task sharing [Articolo su rivista]
N., Milanese; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

We investigated whether performing a task with a co-actor shapes the way a subsequent task is performed. In four experiments participants were administered a Simon task after practicing a spatial compatibility task with an incompatible S-R mapping. In Experiment, 1 they performed both tasks alongside another person; in Experiment 2 they performed the spatial compatibility task alone, responding to only one stimulus position, and the Simon task with another person; inExperiment 3, they performed the spatial compatibility task with another person and the Simon task alone; finally, in Experiment 4, they performed the spatial compatibility task alone and the Simontask with another person. The incompatible practice eliminated the Simon effect in Experiments 1 and 4. These results indicate that when a task is distributed between two participants with each one performing a different part of it, they tend to represent the whole task rather than their own part of it. This experience can influence the way a subsequent task is performed, as long as this latter occurs in a social context.


2010 - Simon-like and functional affordance effects with tools: The effects of object perceptual discrimination and object action state [Articolo su rivista]
A., Pellicano; Iani, Cristina; A. M., Borghi; Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti
abstract

In the present study two separate stimulus–response compatibility effects (functional affordance and Simon-like effects) were investigated with centrally presented pictures of an object tool (a torch) characterized by a structural separation between the graspable portion and the goal-directed portion.In Experiment 1, participants were required to decide whether the torch was red or blue, while in Experiment 2 they were required to decide whether the torch was upright or inverted. Our resultsshowed that with the same stimulus two types of compatibility effect emerged: one based on the direction signalled by the goal-directed portion of the tool (a Simon-like effect as observed in Experiment 1),and the other based on the actions associated with an object (a functional affordance effect as observed in Experiment 2). Both effects emerged independently of the person’s intention to act on the stimulus,but depended on the stimulus properties that were processed in order to perform the task.


2009 - Attention control and susceptibility to hypnosis [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; F., Ricci; G., Baroni; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

The present work aimed at assessing whether the interference exerted by task-irrelevant spatial information is comparable in high- and low-susceptible individuals and whether it may be eliminated by means of a specific posthypnotic suggestion. To this purpose high- and low-susceptible participants were tested using a Simon-like interference task after the administration of a suggestion aimed at preventing the processing of the irrelevant spatial information conveyed by the stimuli. The suggestion could be administered either in the absence or following a standard hypnotic induction. We showed that, outside from the hypnotic context, the Simon effect was similar in high and low-susceptible participants and it was significantly reduced following the posthypnotic suggestion in high-susceptible participants only. These results show that a specific posthypnotic suggestion can alter information processing in high-susceptible individuals and reduce the interfering effect exerted by arrow stimuli.


2009 - Co-occurrence of sequential and practice effects in the Simon task: Evidence for two independent mechanisms affecting response selection [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; E., Gherri; R., Nicoletti
abstract

The Simon effect refers to the observation that responses to a relevant stimulus dimension are faster and moreaccurate when the stimulus and response spatially correspond than when they do not, even though stimulusposition is irrelevant. Recent findings have suggested that the Simon effect can be strongly modulated by priorpractice with a spatially incompatible mapping and by correspondence sequence. Although practice is thought toinfluence conditional stimulus–response (S–R) processing, leaving response priming through the unconditionalroute unaffected, sequential effects are thought to represent trial-by-trial adaptations that selectively involveunconditional S–R processing. In the present study, we tested this assumption by assessing the effects of correspondencesequence both when the Simon task alone was performed and when it was preceded by a spatialcompatibility task with either incompatible (Experiments 1–2) or compatible (Experiment 2) instructions. Theobservation that practice and correspondence sequence co-occur and exert additive effects strongly demonstratesthat the two factors affect different processing routes.


2009 - Stroop effects on REDemption and semantic effects on confession: Simultaneous automatic activation of embedded and carrier words [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; R., Job; R., Padovani; R., Nicoletti
abstract

The present study was aimed at assessing whether focusing attention on a task-relevant part of a word prevents processing of its meaning. Participants performed a color-naming task on a prime word followed by lexical decision on a probe. Primes were words, which could contain an embedded color word (e.g., ‘‘redemption’’) written in an incongruent color. Probes were eithersemantically related (e.g., ‘‘confession’’) or unrelated (e.g.,‘‘production’’) to the prime word. A Stroop effect emerged for color words appearing either in the initial or in the final position of the carrier word. A priming effect also emerged, with faster responses to probes semantically related to the prime. These results are evidence that focusing attention on part of a prime (i.e., the embedded color word) does not prevent the semantic processing of the entire word.


2009 - The Simon Effect occurs relative to the direction of an attention shift. [Capitolo/Saggio]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti; Iani, Cristina; C., Umiltà
abstract

We investigated whether the Simon effect depends on the orienting of attention. In Experiment 1, participants were required to execute left-right discriminative responses to 2 patterns that were presented to the left or right of fixation. The 2 patterns were similar, and thediscrimination was difficult. A letter at fixation signaled whether the current trial was a catch trial. The results showed a reversal of the Simon effect. That is, spatially noncorresponding responses were faster than spatially corresponding responses. In Experiment 2, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was easy. In Experiment 3, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was difficult, but the stimulus exposure time was long. In eitherexperiment, the regular Simon effect was reinstated. In Experiment 4, the letter that signaled a catch trial appeared to the left or right of the imperative stimulus. The Simon effect occurred relative to the position of the letter.


2008 - Fattori statici e fattori dinamici nella codifica spaziale [Capitolo/Saggio]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Rassegna


2008 - Force feedback: New frontier as the innovative driving comfort tool [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
L., Minin; R., Montanari; C., Corbelli; Iani, Cristina
abstract

Previous Human Factors studies in the automotive fieldshowed that drivers performance is influenced by thetype of Force Feedback (FF) reproduced by the steeringwheel. In the present study, six FF were compared.Results suggest that the effect of the type of FFdepends on the specific driving scenario, thussuggesting the utility of an adaptive force feedbackbased steering wheel. In the final part of the paper, wedescribe how such a system could be implemented in areal vehicle.


2008 - The role of attention in the occurrence of the affordance effect [Articolo su rivista]
L., Riggio; Iani, Cristina; E., Gherri; F., Benatti; Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti
abstract

It has been demonstrated that visual objects activate responses spatially corresponding to the orientation (left or right) of their graspable parts. To investigate the role of attention orienting in the generation of this effect, which we will refer to as affordance effect, we ran three experiments in which the target stimulus could either correspond or not with a dynamic event capturing attention. Participants were required to press a left or right key according to the vertical orientation (upward or inverted) of objects presented with their handles oriented to the right or to the left. In Experiments 1 and 2, the objects were located above or below fixation, while in Experiment 3, to assess the contemporary presence of the affordance and Simon effects, the objects were located to the left or right of fixation. The results showed that while the affordance effect, when evident, was always relative to the target object, irrespective of its attentional capturing properties, the Simon effect occurred relative to the event capturing attention. These findings suggest that automatic and controlled processes of visual attention may play a differential role in the occurrence of the two effects.


2007 - Design of an Adaptive Feedback Based Steering Wheel [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Dell'Amico, Mauro; Marzani, Stefano; Minin, Luca; Montanari, Roberto; Tesauri, Francesco; Mariani, Michele; Iani, Cristina; Tango, F.
abstract

This paper aims at describing the architectural model of an adaptiveforce-feedback for a By Wire steering wheel system. This solution uses asteering wheel to replicate the reactive torque law which allows the driver tocomplete a precise driving scenario or a task with the higher performances.Then, the steering wheel adapts the reactive torque to the driving scenario.Since the design of this system considers the driver performances, it is calledErgonomic Steer-By-Wire. Now a prototype version of the ESBW is connectedon a professional driving simulator and several tests are going to be conductedin order to tune the system components. Adapting the force feedback to thedriving scenario could be a solution for improving driver’s safety and vehiclecontrol.


2007 - Factors affecting task management in aviation [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; C. D., Wickens
abstract

Objective: We investigated the influence of ongoing task display “compellingness” on attention allocation patterns and assessed its interaction with interrupting task salience and importance. Background: There are some concerns that the compellingnessof flight deck tunnel displays renders the task they support more resistant to interruptions, thus preventing the pilot from noticing cues signaling the need to divert attention to other tasks. Methods: Forty pilots flew three curved approaches in a high-fidelity simulation using a synthetic vision system (SVS) display. In addition to the primary task of flying, during the last approach they were required to select the approach path on the basis of environmental information concerning weather. The display layout supporting the primary flight task (tunnel vs. baseline display),the nature of the cue signaling the need to divert attention to the path selection task (visual vs. auditory-visual cue), and the cost of not performing the secondary task were manipulated to investigate their influence on task prioritization. Results: Themodality and priority of the cue affected the frequency of the switch to the secondary task. Furthermore, pilots flying with a tunnel display were more likely to detect the change in the weather and were easily interrupted by the secondary task when priority was high. Conclusion: Our results suggest that some of the concerns regarding the negative consequences of the compelling nature of the tunnel display may not be as pronounced as thought. Applications: This study highlights the utility of the tunneldisplay in improving flight safety.


2007 - Peripheral arterial tone as an on-line measure of load in a simulated flight task [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; D., Gopher; A. J., Grunwald; P., Lavie
abstract

Variations in continuous and discrete flight demands were investigated in a simulated flight mission measuring peripheral arterial tone (PAT) from the tip of the finger. A total of 12 participants performed a computer-simulated agricultural flight task. They were required to fly over a specific lane of asimulated corn field (continuous task) and change lanes in response to flags, which appeared at varying intervals (discrete task). The difficulty of the flight task was manipulated by varying the airplane control (single- vs. dual-axis control), while the difficulty of the discrete task was manipulated by varyingthe amount of lateral change signalled by the flag. PAT amplitude was lower in the difficult level of the continuous task and was further attenuated following the appearance of the flag only when a change in the flight position was required. These results suggest the potential utility of PAT as an on-line measure of the joint continuous and discrete demands of a flight mission.


2007 - Spatial coding and central patterns: Is there something special about the eyes? [Articolo su rivista]
Ricciardelli, P; Bonfiglioli, C; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, R.
abstract

In this study we investigated in a Simon-like taskwhether task-irrelevant spatial information, delivered bycentrally presented patterns, interfered with response selectionin the same way as laterally presented stimuli. Second,we asked whether such interference was equal for differentkinds of stimuli. Participants were required to respond tothe colour of two framed squares, two arrows, or twoschematic eyes by pressing one of two lateralized responsekeys. The results consistently show that the Simon effectoccurs independently of the nature of the stimulus, as classicallyreported for lateralized stimuli. Response times wereinfluenced by the direction and frame-relative position ofthe stimuli, being faster for responses corresponding to thedirection indicated by the stimuli than for noncorrespondingresponses regardless of stimulus types. Contrary to findingswith lateralized nondirectional stimuli, such an effectincreased with increasing RTs indicating that for centrallypresented patterns the extraction of spatial information istime consuming.


2006 - Human Factors in off-highway vehicles - Design and prototyping of a control and information visualization system [Capitolo/Saggio]
Tesauri, F; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; Rubichi, Sandro; Marzani, S; Montanari, R.
abstract

Human Factors in off-highway vehicles - Design and prototyping of a control and information visualization system


2006 - Hypnotic suggestion modulates cognitive conflict - The case of the flanker compatibility effect [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; F., Ricci; E., Gherri; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

The present work was aimed at investigating whether the flanker compatibility effect can be eliminated by means of a posthypnotic suggestion influencing attentional focusing. In Experiment 1, participants who scored high and low on hypnotic susceptibility performed the flanker compatibility task when naturally awake and when under a posthypnotic suggestion aimed at increasing the target's discriminability from the flankers. Results showed that the posthypnotic suggestion effectively eliminated the flanker compatibility effect in highly susceptible participants, whereas low-susceptibility participants did not show any reduction in the effect. In Experiment 2, highly susceptible participants performed the task after receiving a suggestion but without the induction of hypnosis. Results showed that the suggestion alone was not sufficient to reduce the flanker compatibility effect. These results support the view that in highly susceptible participants, hypnotic suggestion can influence the ability to focus on relevant information.


2005 - Is there any difference between the spatial response code elicited by bilateral symmetrical biological and non-biological stimuli? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ricciardelli, P.; Bonfiglioli, C.; Iani, Cristina; C., Rubichi; S., Nicoletti
abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate whether thebiological relevance of the stimulus could enhance taskirrelevantspatial information delivered by a pair of bilateralstimuli. Participants had to perform a Simon-like task in whichthey were required to respond to the color of two framedsquares (on and off-centered), two framed arrows, or twoschematic eyes by pressing one of two keys on the left and onthe right of the body midline. Results showed that regardless ofstimulus type responses towards the direction indicated by thestimuli (corresponding stimulus-response pairings) were fasterthan responses against it (non-corresponding stimulus-responsepairings). It is argued that the biological relevance of the stimulidoes not seem to play a crucial role in the automatic processingof stimulus inherent spatial properties.


2004 - Effects of task difficulty and invested mental effort on peripheral vasoconstriction [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; D., Gopher; P., Lavie
abstract

We ran two experiments to investigate whether peripheral arterial tone reflects changes in mental effort. Finger pulse wave amplitude, interpulse interval, and pulse variability in the mid- and high-frequency bands were recorded by means of a newly developed finger plethysmograph during both rest and cognitive performance. Using a modified version of the Sternberg memory task, we selectively manipulated either the difficulty of the task (Experiment 1) or the subjects' level of engagement in the task (Experiment 2). We found a significant difference in finger pulse wave amplitude between rest and task periods, suggesting that the measure reflects changes in sympathetic activity due to task engagement. In addition, our results suggest that reduced pulse wave amplitude, signaling vasoconstriction, occurs when subjects are investing effort.


2004 - Factors affecting task management in aviation. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Iani, Cristina; Wickens, C.
abstract

The present paper summarizes the results of a study investigating task management and task prioritization processes in aviation. Forty instrument rated pilots flew three curved approaches in a high fidelity simulation using a Synthetic Vision System (SVS) display. In addition to the primary task of flying, during the last approach they were required to select the approach path on the basis of environmental information concerning weather. The level of immersion in the task, the nature and saliency of the cues signaling the need to divert attention to the path selection task and the cost of not performing the secondary task were manipulated to investigate their influence on task prioritization. Our results indicate that cue saliency affected the frequency of the switch to the secondary task, while task compellingness did not show any reliable effect on task prioritization.


2004 - Le basi psicofisiologiche del comportamento. Testo introduttivo per corsi umanistici [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro
abstract

Testo introduttivo per corsi umanistici che illustra alcuni aspetti fondamentali del quadro di riferimento biologico utili alla comprensione del funzionamento mentale dell'uomo.


2003 - Attention [Capitolo/Saggio]
D., Gopher; Iani, Cristina
abstract

Attention is the scientific term primarily usedto describe all processes and mechanisms thatgovern the subjective constraints imposed by thehuman organism on the flow and interpretationof external and internal information, and on theorganization and selection of responses, in the serviceof goal-directed behavior. In some cases, attentioncan also be automatically captured bysudden changes in the situation, or by well-trainedstimulus–response tendencies


2002 - Effects of acoustic stimulation on heart rate and peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) during sleep [Abstract in Rivista]
E., Likthtik; Iani, Cristina; G., Pillar; P., Lavie
abstract

In order to better the dynamics of the arousal response during sleep, in the present study we compared the cardiac and vasomotor response induced by multiple acoustic stimulation during daytime sleep. To this aim, we used a recently developed technique that allows for the non-invasive long-term monitoring of peripheral arterial tone(PAT). Our results suggest that the vasomotor system shows a more profound and sustained response to arousal than the cardiac system.


2002 - Peripheral arterial tone as an on-line measure of flight load. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Iani, Cristina; Gopher, D.; Grunwald, ; A. J., AND LAVIE
abstract

We investigated variations in continuous and discrete flight demands in a simulated flight mission employing a novel physiological measure of invested effort, Peripheral Arterial Tone (PAT). Twelve male subjects performed a computer-simulated agricultural flight task. They were required to fly over a specific lane of a field (continuous task) and change lanes in response to flags, which were presented at varying intervals (discrete task). The difficulty of the flight task was manipulated by changing the plane control (single- vs. dual-axis control), while the difficulty associated with the discrete events was manipulated byvarying the amount of lateral change signalled by the flag (no change vs. 1.5 or 3 lanes of change). PAT amplitude values were lower in the difficult level of the continuous task and was further attenuated following the appearance of the flag whena change in the flight position was required.


2002 - Residual effects of daytime administration of melatonin on performance relevant to flight [Articolo su rivista]
R., Nave; Iani, Cristina; P., Herer; P., Lavie
abstract

There is a general consensus that melatonin possesses time-dependent hypnotic effects, but there is no information yet whether it has residual effects on neurobehavioral performance, especially after daytime administration. In the present study weinvestigated the possible residual effects of 3 mg melatonin on performance relevant to flight and on subjective feelings ofsleepiness, arousal, activation and affect after a daytime nap, as a function of nap length. Fifteen reserve pilots of the Israeli AirForce participated in the study. The experiment consisted of four sessions during which either melatonin or placebo wasadministered at 16:00 h. In two conditions, subjects were allowed to sleep for 2 h (17:00–19:00 h) whereas in the other two onlya 0.5-h nap was allowed. After the naps they started performing a flight simulator task every 2 h. Sleep efficiency significantlyincreased and sleep latency significantly decreased in both melatonin conditions compared to placebo. Flight performance wasonly mildly affected in the 0.5-h nap condition. Subjective assessment of sleepiness significantly differed between the two treatmentconditions, only in the 0.5-h nap condition. Subjects felt sleepier 2–4 h after melatonin administration. To conclude, our datasuggest that administration of melatonin before a brief daytime nap (about 0.5 h) may be associated with mild residual effects onpsychomotor performance and may significantly affect subjective feeling of sleepiness for 2–4 h. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. Allrights reserved.


2001 - Comparing learning curves of experts and novices: A novel approach to the study of simulator effectiveness and fidelity. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Gopher, D.; Sivan, R.; Iani, Cristina
abstract

We describe a new approach to the study of simulator fidelity and training efficiency. It is based on comparing learning curves of novice trainees and domain experts in a simulator. The major claim is that if a simulator represents a relevant environment for the training of the operational task, domain experts performanceshould show a major advantage over novice trainees. Two measures of domain expert performance are important in the evaluation of the simulator. One is the distance (in training hours or sessions) between performance levels of novices anddomain experts. It reflects the difficulty of the measured ability and the predicted amount of training required by novices to reach expert levels. A second measure, which represents simulator fidelity, is the distance between expert performance and performance asymptote in the simulator. The approach has been successfully applied in the study of a desktop, partial task flight simulator.


2001 - Effects of task difficulty and invested mental effort on peripheral vasoconstriction [Abstract in Rivista]
Iani, Cristina; D. GOPHER, P. LAVIE
abstract

We conducted four experiments to test the effects of task difficulty and invested mental effort on peripheral vasoconstriction. Finger pulse wave amplitude was recorded from male undergraduatestudents by means of a newly developed finger plethysmographthat measures peripheral arterial tone (PAT) during both rest and cognitive performance. The difference in PAT amplitude between rest and task periods suggests that PAT amplitude reflects changes in sympathetic activity due to task engagement. As the demands of the task increase, PAT amplitude tends to decrease. Our results seem to suggest that peripheral vasoconstriction may be more sensitive to the amount of voluntary effort invested in task performance rather than to the objective task demands.


2001 - Shifting attention between objects [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro; C., Umilta
abstract

Experiment I used a modified spatial cueing paradigm that was introduced by Egly et al. [J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 123 (1994) 161] to investigate the cost incurred in shifting attention within an object as opposed to shifting attention between objects. Subjects were presented with two outline rectangles and had to detect a target (a luminance increment) that could appear in the cued location (valid trials), in an uncued Location inside the cued rectangle (inside-invalid trials), or in an uncued location inside the uncued rectangle (outside-invalid trials). Valid trials were faster than invalid trials, and inside-invalid trials were faster than outside-invalid trials. In Experiment 2, the two rectangles were joined to form a unitary object. Hen, no difference was found between outside-invalid trials and inside-invalid trials. Experiment 3 showed that the delayed response on outside-invalid trials in Experiment 1 was not due to attention needing to cross the figural borders in order to re-orient to the uncued rectangle. The results were interpreted as showing that an extra cost is incurred for shifting attention between different objects.


1998 - Analisi della sicurezza. Integrazione dei fattori umani. [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; F., Vanderhaegen; N., Moray
abstract

L’articolo presenta un approccio volto all’integrazione dei fattoriumani nell’analisi della sicurezza di sistemi complessi in generale edei sistemi ferroviari in particolare. Viene descritto un modello perl’analisi di incidenti che, quando integrato con un’analisi funzionaledel sistema, cerca di identificare le aree potenziali di inaffidabilità.


1997 - CONSIDERATION OF THE INFORMATION FLOW AND ORGANIZATIONAL FACTORS IN SAFETY ANALYSIS. SOME CASE STUDIES IN THE RAILWAY TRANSPORT SYSTEM [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Iani, Cristina; Vanderhaegen, F; Moray, N.
abstract

This paper presents an approach aimed at investigating and integrating information flow and aspects such as the interaction between different agents, both human operators and machines, in the safety analysis of complex systems in general and of railway systems in particular. A model for the analysis of accidents is presented which considers both human operator and machine as unreliable system components and, when integrated with a functional analysis of the system, aims at the identification of critical areas of unreliability.


1997 - Considerazione del flusso di informazioni nell'analisi della sicurezza. Lo studio di un caso nel sistema ferroviario. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Iani, Cristina; F., Vanderhaegen
abstract

Il lavoro presenta un modello causale per l'analisi degli incidenti. Tale modello, considerando i lievlli di interazione isolabili nel sistema ferroviario ed il fluso di interazioni che caratterizza queste interazioni, cerca di localizzare dove si possono verificare delle situazioni problematiche e come queste possono propagarsi all'interno del sistema. Lo scopo di tale modello è di identificare soluziomi pratiche per la progettazione di sistemi più sicuri.


1997 - The Simon effect occurs relative to the direction of an attention shift [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti; Iani, Cristina; C., Umilta
abstract

We investigated whether the Simon effect depends on the orienting of attention. In Experiment 1, participants were required to execute left-right discriminative responses to 2 patterns that were presented to the left or right of fixation. The 2 patterns were similar, and the discrimination was difficult. A letter at fixation signaled whether the current trial was a catch trial. The results showed a reversal of the Simon effect. That is, spatially noncorresponding responses were faster than spatially corresponding responses. In Experiment 2, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was easy. In Experiment 3, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was difficult, but the stimulus exposure time was long. In either experiment, the regular Simon effect was reinstated. In Experiment 4, the letter that signaled a catch trial appeared to the left or right of the imperative stimulus. The Simon effect occurred relative to the position of the letter.