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Katzner, Steffen ORCID: 0000-0002-4424-2197; Miller, Jeff (2012): Response-level probability effects on reaction time: Now you see them, now you don't. In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 65, No. 5: pp. 865-886
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Many reaction time (RT) experiments have tested for response-level probability effects. Their results have been mixed, which is surprising because psychophysiological studies provide clear evidence of motor-level changes associated with an anticipated response. A survey of the designs used in the RT studies reveals many potential problems that could conceal the effects of response probability. We report five new RT experiments testing for response-level probability effects with the most promising of the previous designs—that of Blackman (1972)—and with new designs. Some of these experiments yield evidence of response-level probability effects, but others do not. It appears that response-level probability effects are present primarily in simple tasks with a strong emphasis on response preparation, possibly because participants only expend effort on response preparation in these tasks.