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Description: Merely observing how another person responds to a stimulus results in incidental stimulus-response (SR) bindings in memory. These observationally acquired SR bindings can be retrieved on a later occasion. Retrieval will bias current behavioral response tendencies towards re-execution of the observed response. Previous demonstrations of this effect endorsed a dyadic interaction paradigm in which two co-actors respond in alternating fashion. The present paper investigates a video-based version of the observational SR binding task in which videotaped responses are observed on screen. Whereas findings from the dyadic paradigm indicate that retrieval of observationally acquired SR bindings is modulated by social relevance, the video-based paradigm is not influenced by social moderators. Data of four experiments show that manipulations of visual perspective, natural and artificial group membership had no modulatory effect on retrieval of observationally acquired SR bindings in the video-based paradigm. The absence of any socially modulated effect in the video-based paradigm is supported by Bayesian statistics in favor of the null hypothesis. Data from a fifth experiment suggests that observational SR binding and retrieval effects in the video-based paradigm reflect the influence of spatial attention allocated towards response keys of observed responses). Together, these findings suggest that observationally acquired SR binding effects are only the dyadic paradigm genuinely “social” effects.

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