Dimensional overlap between arrows as cueing stimuli and responses? : evidence from contra-ipsilateral differences in EEG potentials

R. Verleger, C. Vollmer, B. Wauschkuhn, Robert Henricus Johannes van der Lubbe, E. Wascher

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In the S1–S2 interval, 400 ms after an arrow as S1, an EEG-potential difference occurs between scalp sites contralateral and ipsilateral to arrow direction. Eimer [J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 21 (1995) 837–854] interpreted this difference as a sign of automatic activation of the manual response, due to dimensional overlap of arrows and responses. However, according to Kornblum et al.’s [Psychol. Rev. 97 (1990) 253–270] notion of dimensional overlap, responses can only be automatically primed if they are included in the response set. Therefore, participants of the present study had to respond to S2 in separate blocks either by key-press, as in Eimer [J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 21 (1995) 837–854], or by making saccades. In addition, contra-ipsilateral differences were recorded not only from central positions, overlying the hand-motor area, but across the whole scalp. Contralateral negativity at 400 ms after S1 was indeed found over the hand-motor area in the ‘hand blocks’. However, this ‘L-400’ (=lateralization at 400 ms) was generally as large in the ‘eye’ blocks as in the ‘hand’ blocks. Therefore, L-400 does not reflect automatic activation of manual responses in the sense of Kornblum et al. [Psychol. Rev. 97 (1990) 253–270]. Further, its topographical maximum was more anterior than the hand-motor-related negativity that preceded the manual response (‘LRP’) with its maximum at central sites. Therefore, L-400 probably does not originate in the hand-motor cortex. Rather, it may be related to activity of the lateral premotor cortex found in fMRI studies of spatial orienting. The present EEG study extends these studies by delimiting the time period of this activity, suggesting that it reflects encoding of the spatial properties of the arrow for action.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)99-109
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • LRP
  • Saccades
  • Dimensional overlap
  • Manual responses
  • Premotor cortex
  • IR-76623

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