Analyzing distributional properties of interference effects across modalities: Chances and challenges

Kerstin Dittrich, David Kellen, Christoph Stahl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In research investigating Stroop or Simon effects, data are typically analyzed at the level of mean response time (RT), with results showing faster responses for compatible than for incompatible trials. However, this analysis provides only limited information as it glosses over the shape of the RT distributions and how they may differ across tasks and experimental conditions. These limitations have encouraged the analysis of RT distributions using delta plots. In the present review, we aim to bring together research on distributional properties of auditory and visual interference effects. Extending previous reviews on distributional properties of the Simon effect, we additionally review studies reporting distributional analyses of Stroop effects. We show that distributional analyses of sequential effects (i.e., taking into account congruency of the previous trial) capture important similarities and differences of interference effects across tasks (Simon, Stroop) as well as across sensory modalities, despite some challenges associated to this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-399
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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