Mental size scaling examined

Derek Besner*, Max Coltheart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Observers made same-different shape judgments of stimuli that were identical in shape and size different in shape but not in size, or differed in relative size along a number of steps for both same- and different- shaped forms. "Same" judgment RTs increased monotonically with increases in the magnitude of the relative size difference. In contrast, "different" judgment RTs were unaffected by changes in relative size. A second experiment in which stimulus presentation was successive rather than simultaneous yielded essentially the same results. Consideration was given to a dual- process model in which a time-consuming analog process normalizes stimuli that are size discrepant prior to a comparison stage that is operative for those structures responsible for "same" decisions but not for "different" judgments. Some evidence that seems inconsistent with a normalization process which operates prior to contact with memory was discussed, and an alternative explanation in which the early detection of a size difference causes changes in decision criteria was suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalMemory & Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1976
Externally publishedYes


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