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Distinct Response Components Indicate that Binding is the Primary Cause of Response Repetition Effects Open Access

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Humans must constantly react to the environments they experience. To understand the processes governing our actions, researchers study behavior in the controlled world of stimulus- response tasks. In many cases, repeating a response results in performance benefits, but in other cases repeating a response results in performance costs. This dichotomy is referred to as response repetition effects (RR effects). To understand these effects, I first investigate two possible response components, response categories (response meaning) and motor responses (response execution). Recent research suggests separate mental representations exist for each response component, but methodologies used in this research invite alternative explanations. Second, I investigate two proposed accounts of RR effects. The response inhibition account supposes that RR effects are the product of an inhibitory mechanism meant to prevent accidental re-execution of a response. The binding account supposes that RR effects are the product of interference from automatically retrieved memories of previous events. Four experiments were conducted that both verify the findings of previous research on response components and directly compare the response inhibition account and the binding account as explanations of RR effects. Results of these experiments, in conjunction with past research, demonstrate that separate mental representations exist for response categories and motor responses. This finding validates the differing predictions put forth by each RR effect account. Results also suggest that binding is the primary mechanism behind RR effects, but secondary analyses suggest that response inhibition contributes to RR effects.

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