Simon task

Ordinary people live their lives to the fullest and never realize how much their brains process. However, imagine if a plane engineer had had no idea about how the brain worked and thought it would have been fun to install the error indicator of the right engine on the left side and the left engine on the right side. He/she may have thought that as the pilots already knew the meaning of the indicator, it would be fine. Then, the left engine had a problem, and in a rush, the pilot may quickly have adjusted the right engine, and all the people on board would have died.

Until now, that scenario has not been reported because plane engineers hate fun or may have known something about how the brain works. They may know people often make mistakes when they experience unattended conflicts from several features of a stimulus in the cognitive process. They may know that the information processing system does not master identifying important stimuli, excluding irrelevant information, and executing proper responses. In contrast, humans input some types of task-irrelevant information even before relevant features (Fitousi, 2016). Knowledge about the information processing system helps reduce conflicts and smooth behavior.

Knowledge about how task-irrelevant stimuli can facilitate or interfere with behavior helps people to survive in near-death experiences as the aforementioned pilot or in any situation that requires a quick and accurate response. That type of knowledge may help people learn how to avoid irrelevant information that distracts them from their goal-oriented response. However, until now, ignoring some task-irrelevant features such as the spatial location remains impossible as researchers still cannot know how many types of spatial stimuli that people code.

According to the attentional approach, people code a stimulus as left because they have to shift their attention to the left from the fixation point to see the stimulus (as cited Hommel, 2010). Then, people may code not only the spatial location but also visual stimuli in the hemispace, hemifield, and relative position (as cited in Hommel, 2010). People respond faster when the response code corresponds with either term. Therefore, stimuli from each frame can carry different purposes that facilitate different steps of the response selection stage.

Consequently, if further research can figure out the purpose of each frame, people still cannot ignore task-irrelevant information, but they can be equipped with products that do not interfere with their response (i.e., an indicator of errors of the right engine would not be on the left side). Also, the Simon effect seems to affect many samples and can cause danger in some situations, so further research can figure out which systematic factor can help some people do better on the Simon task. For example, one study suggested that late acquisition of a second language brings more cognitive benefits and builds stronger inhibition mechanisms. Therefore, bilinguals perform better, and their reaction time in a spatial stimulus-incongruent response is shorter than monolinguals. Knowing which factor helps some people better at performing Simon's task can help some people to be less affected by the task-irrelevant information.