Department of Psychology

How come people respond in 'free-choice' tasks?

Free-choice tasks, i.e., tasks in which a stimulus indicates a set of 'correct' responses containing at least two elements, are often used to implement psychological constructs such as internally generated actions, intentional actions, or even free will. While the research using these operationalizations is very fruitful, the debate on what exactly happens when someone is performing such a task, how they are different from forced-choice tasks (i.e., tasks in which the stimulus maps to one [correct] response only) and how participants give any response at all goes on.

This strand of research aims to shed light on these questions by investigating the mechanisms of free-choice tasks. We will use different behavioral modeling approaches (e.g,. the diffusion model framework) and diverse experimental paradigms (e.g., mouse tracking) to tease apart the inner workings of free-choice tasks.

Recent publications:

Naefgen, C., & Janczyk, M. (2019). Smaller backward crosstalk effects for free choice tasks are not the result of immediate conflict adaptation. Cognitive Processing, 20, 73-85.

Naefgen, C., Dambacher, M., & Janczyk, M. (2018). Why free choices take longer than forced choices: Evidence from response threshold manipulations. Psychological Research, 82, 1039-1052.

Naefgen, C., & Janczyk, M. (2018). Free choice tasks as random generation tasks: An investigation through working memory manipulations. Experimental Brain Research, 236, 2263-2275.

Vogel, D., Scherbaum, S., & Janczyk, M. (2018). Dissociating decision strategies in free-choice tasks - A mouse tracking analysis. Acta Psychologica, 190, 65-71.

Naefgen, C., Caissie, A., & Janczyk, M. (2017). Stimulus-response links and the backward crosstalk effect – A comparison of forced- and free-choice tasks. Acta Psychologica, 177, 23-29.

Janczyk, M., Dambacher, M., Bieleke, M., & Gollwitzer, P.M. (2015). The benefit of no choice: Goal-directed plans enhance perceptual processing. Psychological Research, 79, 206-220.

Janczyk, M., Nolden, S. & Jolicoeur, P. (2015). No differences in dual-task costs between forced- and free-choice tasks. Psychological Research, 79, 463-477.