The influence of conceptual knowledge on visual discrimination

Isabel Gauthier*, Thomas W. James, Kim M. Curby, Michael J. Tarr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Does conceptual knowledge about objects influence their perceptual processing? There is some evidence for interactions between semantic and visual knowledge in tasks requiring both long-term memory and lexical access. Here we assessed whether similar perceptual/semantic interactions arise during sequential visual matching, a task that does not require access to semantic information. Matching of two-dimensional or three-dimensional novel objects was facilitated when the objects were associated with arbitrarily assigned distinctive artificial semantic concepts as compared to similar semantic concepts. In contrast to prior demonstrations, this effect was obtained in a task that did not require naming objects, and was not affected by participants rehearsing consonant strings, suggesting a direct influence from semantic associations on visual object recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-523
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number3-6
Publication statusPublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


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