Is three greater than five: The relation between physical and semantic size in comparison tasks

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Abstract

In this study, subjects were asked to judge which of two digits (e.g., 3 5) was larger either in physical or in numerical size. Reaction times were facilitated when the irrelevant dimension was congruent with the relevant dimension and were inhibited when the two were incongruent (size congruity effect). Although judgments based on physical size were faster, their speed was affected by the numerical distance between the members of the digit pair, indicating that numerical distance is automatically computed even when it is irrelevant to the comparative judgment being required by the task. This finding argues for parallel processing of physical and semantic information in this task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-395
Number of pages7
JournalMemory and Cognition
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1982

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