A psychological refractory period or an unprepared period?

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Abstract

Results of an experiment with 12 female college students show that typical lengthening of reaction time (RT) to a 2nd signal (RT2) occurred by using a constant intersignal interval and a psychological refractory period procedural paradigm. However, RT2 was lengthened even more on occasional probe trials without Signal 1 (S1). Since, in the latter case, there was no possible involvement with S1, the lengthening is not attributable to a psychological refractory period. In view of previous evidence that an S cannot be prepared simultaneously for optimal response to 2 stimuli, the effect would seem to be that of unpreparedness. More generally, any model of processing in RT experiments must include the S's state of preparation at the time the signal occurs. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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