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Individual pattern representations are context independent, but their collectiverepresentation is context dependent

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We studied context dependency of the representations underlying perceptual “goodness”. Three experiments used a same – different task with classical Garner 5-dot patterns presented with an interstimulus interval (ISI) of 500ms. Same patterns were allowed to be rotated or reflected versions of each other. Pattern goodness was varied according to rotation and reflection equivalence, using Garner's equivalence set size (ESS) measure. The ESS of both first and second patterns affected reaction time and accuracy. A model based on assumptions that Garner's equivalence sets constitute the generic representation of these patterns and that items within these sets are accessed serially was fitted to the data. Excellent fits were obtained, which were robust against frequency-induced bias at the level of the individual pattern, but sensitive to such bias at the level of the equivalence set. It was concluded that individual pattern representations are context independent, whereas their collective representations are context dependent. Simplicity and likelihood principles, therefore, seem to apply to different levels of a representation hierarchy.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2005


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