Two major hypotheses have been advanced to account for stimulus-response compatibility effects in the situation in which the location of the target is irrelevant for choosing the correct response. According to the attentional hypothesis, compatibility effects reflect a response bias, favoring the effector on the same side as the stimulus. According to the coding hypothesis compatibility effects result from a correspondence between the spatial codes of the stimulus and effector. In the present study, two components of attention-selective attention and intention-were independently manipulated by providing selective preparatory information before onset of a target stimulus. Attentional information indicated where the target stimulus would occur; intentional information indicated which hand would have to be used to respond. Compatibility effects were observed only in the condition in which intentional information, but no attentional information, was provided. These findings support the attentional hypothesis and indicate that a specific aspect of attention, namely a selective readiness to respond to the stimulus, is a necessary condition for compatibility effects to occur. © 1988.