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Considerable evidence now shows that making a reference to the self in a task modulates attention, perception, memory, and decision-making. Furthermore, the self-reference effect (SRE) cannot be reduced to domain-general factors (e.g., reward value) and is supported by distinct neural circuitry. However, it remains unknown whether self-associations modulate response execution as well. This was tested in the present study. Participants carried out a perceptual-matching task, and movement time (MT) was measured separately from reaction-time (RT; drawing on methodology from the literature on intelligence). A response box recorded 'home'-button-releases (measuring RT from stimulus onset); and a target-key positioned 14 cm from the response box recorded MT (from 'home'-button-release to target-key depression). MTs of responses to self- as compared with other-person-associated stimuli were faster (with a higher proportion correct for self-related responses). We present a novel demonstration that the SRE can modulate the execution of rapid-aiming arm-movement responses. Implications of the findings are discussed, along with suggestions to guide and inspire future work in investigating how the SRE influences action.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta Psychol (Amst)

Publication Date





258 - 266


Movement time, Rapid arm movements, Self-prioritization, Self-reference effect, Visuomotor processing