Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Action or attention in social inhibition of return?

Doneva, Silviya P.; Atkinson, Mark A.; Skarratt, Paul A.; Cole, Geoff G.


Silviya P. Doneva

Mark A. Atkinson

Geoff G. Cole


When two individuals alternate reaching responses to targets located in a visual display, reaction times are longer when responses are directed to where the co-actor just responded. Although an abundance of work has examined the many characteristics of this phenomenon it is not yet known why the effect occurs. In particular, some authors have argued that action representation mechanisms are central to the effect. However, here we present evidence in support of an account in which the representation of action is not necessary. First, the basic effect occurs even when participants cannot see their co-actor’s movement but, importantly, have their attention shifted to a target side via an attentional cue. Second, its time course is too short-lasting to function effectively as a component of action planning. Finally, unlike other joint action phenomena, the effect is not modulated by higher order mechanisms concerned with the personal attributes of a co-actor. Taken together, these results suggest that this particular joint action phenomenon is due to attentional rather than action mechanisms.


Doneva, S. P., Atkinson, M. A., Skarratt, P. A., & Cole, G. G. (2017). Action or attention in social inhibition of return?. Psychological research, 81(1), 43-54.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 10, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 26, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 17, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 17, 2016
Journal Psychological research
Print ISSN 0340-0727
Electronic ISSN 1430-2772
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 81
Issue 1
Pages 43-54
Keywords Social IOR, Action representation, Selective attention, Joint Simon effect
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a description of an article which has been published in: Psychological research, 2016, v.81 issue 1.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations