Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 25 October 2012 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00444

Action-effect bindings and ideomotor learning in intention- and stimulus-based actions

  • 1Department of Psychology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
  • 2Department of Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France
  • 4CNRS, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, UMR 8158, Paris, France

According to ideomotor theory, action-effect associations are crucial for voluntary action control. Recently, a number of studies started to investigate the conditions that mediate the acquisition and application of action-effect associations by comparing actions carried out in response to exogenous stimuli (stimulus-based) with actions selected endogenously (intention-based). There is evidence that the acquisition and/or application of action-effect associations is boosted when acting in an intention-based action mode. For instance, bidirectional action-effect associations were diagnosed in a forced choice test phase if participants previously experienced action-effect couplings in an intention-based but not in a stimulus-based action mode. The present study aims at investigating effects of the action mode on action-effect associations in more detail. In a series of experiments, we compared the strength and durability of short-term action-effect associations (binding) immediately following intention- as well as stimulus-based actions. Moreover, long-term action-effect associations (learning) were assessed in a subsequent test phase. Our results show short-term action-effect associations of equal strength and durability for both action modes. However, replicating previous results, long-term associations were observed only following intention-based actions. These findings indicate that the effect of the action mode on long-term associations cannot merely be a result of accumulated short-term action-effect bindings. Instead, only those episodic bindings are selectively perpetuated and retrieved that integrate action-relevant aspects of the processing event, i.e., in case of intention-based actions, the link between action and ensuing effect.

Keywords: feature binding, event file, action-effect, sensorimotor integration, ideomotor learning

Citation: Herwig A and Waszak F (2012) Action-effect bindings and ideomotor learning in intention- and stimulus-based actions. Front. Psychology 3:444. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00444

Received: 21 June 2012; Accepted: 04 October 2012;
Published online: 25 October 2012.

Edited by:

Roland Pfister, Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg, Germany

Reviewed by:

Uta Wolfensteller, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
Robert Gaschler, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Germany

Copyright: © 2012 Herwig and Waszak. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Arvid Herwig, Department of Psychology, Bielefeld University, P. O. Box 100131, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany. e-mail: arvid.herwig@uni-bielefeld.de

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