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Response Set

  1. Evan F. Risko

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0794

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Risko, E. F. 2010. Response Set. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The response set is composed of the group of acceptable responses in a given experimental context. The response set represents the mapping between a given stimulus and the correct response. For example, in a Stroop task, if the instruction is to “name the ink color of the color word” and the ink colors used are red and green, then the response set consists of the responses “red” and “green.” Response set needs to be differentiated from the stimulus set. In the previous example, the response set (i.e., “red” and “green”) and the stimulus set (i.e., the colors red and green) are the same, but this need not be the case. For example, participants could be instructed to respond “green” to the ink color red and “red” to the ink color green. The response set and the stimulus set together form the task set. There are a number of empirical phenomena associated with the study of response set. Major areas of interest include the effect of (1) the relation between stimulus set and response set, (2) response set membership in selective attention tasks, (3) response set size, and (4) switching response sets. Together, the work on response set has increased our understanding of how behavior is both organized and controlled.


  • compatibility;
  • response set;
  • stimulus-response compatibility