Several studies showed a Simon effect when two participants sit close to each other and perform one of the two halves of a two-choice RT task. That is, each participant perform a go-nogo task. A Simon effect emerges, which instead is absent when the same go-nogo tasks are performed individually. Hence the terms were introduced of “social Simon task” and ‘social Simon effect”. As of now, the social Simon effect was observed with social Simon tasks that overtly gave the participants the impression of being performing in collaboration with another person. In the present study we show that the social Simon effect was present also when, in the social Simon task, the two participants did not actually collaborate. It is, however, absent when participants perform the social task outside of each other’s peripersonal space (i.e., outside arm-reach). We argue that the social Simon effect does not necessarily imply a representation of the other’s action, as previously suggested. The presence of an active confederate in peripersonal space might simply provide a reference for coding one’s own action in space.
Guagnano, D., Rusconi, E., & Umiltà, C. A. (2010). Sharing a task or sharing space? On the effect of the confederate in action coding in a detection task. Cognition, 114(3), 348-355. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.10.008