Most cognitive control effects, although numerously reported in computer task studies, have rarely been tested outside the laboratory. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, we aimed to improve the ecological validity of a well-studied congruency effect. The Simon effect (Simon, 1969) is the observation that an irrelevant stimulus location can facilitate or impede task performance when it is congruent or incongruent with the response location. Secondly, we wanted to investigate the role of action experience on the Simon effect. In this study, experienced bowlers were asked to hit either the left- or rightmost pin, depending on the pitch of a tone. Irrelevant to the task, this tone could be presented in the congruent or incongruent ear. Our results demonstrate that the Simon effect can be observed outside the laboratory and that weekly training at bowling may help in shielding against irrelevant location stimuli.
Braem, Supply, and Notebaert are with the Dept. of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. Roels is with the Dept. of Data Analysis, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.