AbstractRetroactive effects were investigated in the context of a Go/NoGo task. Performance differences between rational and intuitive thinkers also were investigated. Participants were presented with a shape and instructed to either respond or not respond, depending on the shape. In the first Go/NoGo task, the subject had to respond to two shapes that were randomly chosen out of four shapes. In the second Go/NoGo task, participants only had to respond to one shape. This shape was randomly chosen from the two that were used as Go-signals in the first Go/NoGo task. In accordance with the growing literature on retroactive influences on cognition and emotions, where future events seem to have an anomalous, retroactive influence on responses and behavior in the present, we predicted that the second Go/NoGo task would have a practice effect on performance during the first task. We also predicted that this effect would be stronger for subjects classified as “intuitive thinkers” based on the Human Information Processing questionnaire. These predictions were confirmed. During the first Go/NoGo task, the subjects responded ~2% faster to the (target) shape—which they also had to react to during the second task—than to the (control) shape they only had to respond to during the first task (t = 2.59, df = 66, p = 0.024). Subjects with an intuitive thinking style were totally responsible for the whole effect (“intuitive” thinkers alone: t = 3.41, df = 34, p < 0.001). Explorations of the HIP-questionnaire subscales suggest that the relation between anomalous performance and Human Information Processing style is mostly caused by a factor we label as ”rigidity.” We also discuss how “Questionable Research Practices” could have contributed to the current results.
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