Perceptual simulation in property verification

Solomon, K. O. and Barsalou, L. W. (2004) Perceptual simulation in property verification. Memory and Cognition, 32(2), pp. 244-259. (doi: 10.3758/BF03196856) (PMID:15190717)

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If people represent concepts with perceptual simulations, two predictions follow in the property verification task (e.g., Isface a property of GORILLA?). First, perceptual variables such as property size should predict the performance of neutral subjects, because these variables determine the ease of processing properties in perceptual simulations (i.e., perceptual effort). Second, uninstructed neutral subjects should spontaneously construct simulations to verify properties and therefore perform similarly to imagery subjects asked explicitly to use images (i.e., instructional equivalence). As predicted, neutral subjects exhibited both perceptual effort and instructional equivalence, consistent with the assumption that they construct perceptual simulations spontaneously to verify properties. Notably, however, this pattern occurred only when highly associated false properties prevented the use of a word association strategy. In other conditions that used unassociated false properties, the associative strength between concept and property words became a diagnostic cue for true versus false responses, so that associative strength became a better predictor of verification than simulation. This pattern indicates that conceptual tasks engender mixtures of simulation and word association, and that researchers must deter word association strategies when the goal is to assess conceptual knowledge.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barsalou, Professor Lawrence
Authors: Solomon, K. O., and Barsalou, L. W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Memory and Cognition
ISSN (Online):1532-5946

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