From simple to complex actions: Response–response bindings as a new approach to action sequences.

Binding between stimulus features and between stimuli and responses has been discussed as a central mechanism in human action control: Carrying out a response to a stimulus leads to bindings between stimulus and response features, so that repetition of one can retrieve the other later on. We find it intriguing that all discussions to date focus either on stimulus–stimulus or on stimulus–response bindings. Here we argue that response–response bindings are equally relevant for action control, if binding really plays a role in action representation. Hence, the present study investigates whether the same kind of integration and retrieval as observed between stimuli and responses is also possible between two individual responses pursuing different goals. A new design including sequential responses to a Task A and a Task B, was developed to analyze bindings between separately planned and executed responses. In two experiments, the results indicated retrieval of the response to Task B as a result of the repetition of the response to Task A. This is the first evidence for an integration of two separately planned responses in the same event representation. The result has implications for the structure of human action representation, indicating binding of individual actions in higher order representations, and suggests that binding is an even more ubiquitous mechanism in action control than previously shown. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)