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George E. Newman, Justin A. Junge; The perception of order: Same-different paradigm reveals a relationship between goodness-of-figure and processing efficiency. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):961. doi: 10.1167/5.8.961.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Information Theory defines statistical entropy in terms of the amount of information carried in a signal or event (Shannon, C.E., 1949). In general, more random strings take more information to represent, while less random strings take less information to represent. When describing arrays of visual objects, we may be tempted to refer to certain types of configurations as more “ordered”, “organized”, or “structured” than others. Relating these types of subjective judgments to Information Theory predicts that visual configurations which are judged as more “ordered” should take less information to represent and consequently, should result in some benefit of processing over less ordered arrangements. Using the same/different paradigm, the present study investigates whether there is a correlation between subjective ratings of order and the speed at which participants determine whether two configurations are the same. Configurations were randomly generated to fill a 4 × 4 grid with an equal number of black and white cells. One group of participants made subjective judgments about how ordered each of 500 different configurations appeared. Participants decided which of two randomly paired configurations “appeared more ordered”. Ratings were combined across participants to produce a distribution of relative judgments of order. A second group of participants performed a same/different task with these rated configurations. As predicted, there was a significant correlation between the subjective judgments of order and reaction time performance on the same/different task. Implications for the nature of perception of order are discussed.
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