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Jun-ichi Nagai, Kazuhiko Yokosawa; Superordinate interference in basic level object recognition: The effects of object typicality. Journal of Vision 2003;3(9):271. doi: 10.1167/3.9.271.
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It has been claimed that object recognition at the basic level is prior to other levels (Rosch et al., 1976). However, recent results suggest that superordinate categorical information can interfere with basic level recognition, independent of perceptual properties of objects (Yokosawa et al., ARVO 1996; Nagai & Yokosawa, ARVO 2001). In this study, we further examined the influence of superordinate category, especially whether the within-category typicality would affect basic level object recognition. The typicality was manipulated according to the results of a questionnaire rating experiment. We employed an object detection paradigm: Following a basic level word cue (1000 ms; e.g., “dog”), a two-frame sequence of color photographic objects was presented rapidly (200 ms for each frame, with 100-ms ISI). By means of the three-way choice, participants were required to judge correctly whether 1) the target object appeared in the first frame, 2) it appeared in the second frame, or 3) it did not appear, as fast as possible. When the target objects appeared in the first frame, the judging time was not influenced by whether the second objects belonged to the same superordinate category (e.g., DOG — CAT). However, when the target objects appeared in the second frame and the first objects belonged to the same superordinate category (e.g., CAT — DOG), the judging time became slower than when the two objects had no relation. We refer to this delay effect as “superordinate interference,” which indicates that superordinate categorical information is processed automatically and interfere with basic level object recognition. More importantly, the superordinate interference was observed when the objects were typical, whereas it was not observed when the objects were atypical (e.g., HIPPOPOTAMUS — CAMEL). We discuss the relations between these results and the family resemblance structure of category (Rosch & Mervis, 1975).
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