Alphanumeric category effects - evidence against the sufficiency of a localization explanation
The experiment utilized a serial choice reaction time (RT) paradigm in which only one alphanumeric stimulus was presented per trial, and the target set consisted of a single identified item. The categorical relationship between the target and nontarget items was varied as a property of blocks of trials. Target and nontarget RTs were smaller when the specified target item (e.g., the number 6) was categorically distinct from the nontargets (e.g., letters) than when it was from the same category (e.g., digits). The processing of catch-trial stimuli (items from the alternate category to the nontargets) and homographie category-ambiguous items was inhibited only in the former, between-category, condition. The results are contrasted with those obtained in visual search tasks. They suggest that a “locational-cue” explanation of alphanumeric category effects is inadequate.