The premotor theory of attention and the Simon effect

Rob H J Van der Lubbe, Elger L Abrahamse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the paper by Hommel (2011-this issue), the roles of the theory of event coding (TEC) and the premotor theory of attention (PMTA) for the Simon effect were considered. PMTA was treated by Hommel in terms of the proposal that attentional orienting can be viewed as the preparation of a saccade towards a certain location, and was dismissed as providing no useful contribution for an attentional explanation of the Simon effect. Here we considered a more recent and broader conception of the PMTA, compared this approach with TEC, and confronted both approaches with a few studies focusing on the role of spatial attention for the Simon effect. It was argued that PMTA may account more easily for various studies examining the influence of spatial attention on the Simon effect. We concluded our paper by listing some elements that an overall encompassing theory on the Simon effect should contain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-64
Number of pages6
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention/physiology
  • Choice Behavior/physiology
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Orientation/physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Reaction Time/physiology
  • Space Perception/physiology
  • Visual Perception/physiology


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