Competing with visible and invisible competitors in flanker tasks

Yingying Zhu1, Qiang Zhou2, Xin Dong Ye1
1School of Education, Wenzhou University
2Department of Psychology, Wenzhou Medical University
Cite this article:  Zhu, Y., Zhou, Q., & Ye, X. (2016). Competing with visible and invisible competitors in flanker tasks. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44, 1815-1824.

Volume 44 Issue 11 | e5545 | Published: December 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.11.1815

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We conducted 2 studies to investigate whether or not individuals consider a task to be competitive even when their competitors are imagined. We used a 2-choice reaction time task with compatible and incompatible flankers, which was completed by 64 university undergraduates (Mage = 21.4 years; range: 19–23 years). In Study 1, participants completed their task in both individual and competitive conditions. In Study 2, participants took turns to compete with the experimenter side by side and then in a different room. Results indicated that the joint flanker effect occurred, whether or not the competitor was visible or invisible. These findings confirm earlier results that interdependency affects people’s behavior even in a competitive context, and promote understanding of the basic mechanism underlying competitive action.

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