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Yun-hsuan Lai, Leslie Welch, Karen Schloss; Ad hoc color concept mapping and interpreting visual representations . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):622. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.622.
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Interpreting visual representations of abstract concepts (e.g. graphs and signs) requires inferring abstract meanings from visual features (e.g., colors). We predicted that this process would be easier when the color-concept mappings in the visual representation matched observers' predictions of how colors and concept should be mapped (internal mapping). We investigated whether internal mappings can be formed from minimal exposure to new color-concept pairings in graphs (ad hoc mappings) such that they influence interpretations of subsequent graphs. The paradigm contained a series of 3-trial-blocks (one graph per trial). Bar graphs depicted fictitious data with two levels of factor A on the x-axis and two levels of factor B as different bar colors. The first two trials (learning) contained consistent color-concept mappings (e.g., b1-red/b2-blue), but the concepts in factor A varied. In each trial, participants answered a 2AFC question about the graph. The learning trials were followed by a test trial in which participants answered another 2AFC question, but the formatting of the graph varied with respect to the preceding learning trials. In Experiment 1, four possible test graphs were constructed from 2 color-schemes (same/different) x 2 factor B-concepts (same/different). Response times (RTs) were faster when test trial mappings matched learning trials (color-same/concept-same conditions) than when they mismatched (color-same/concept-different; color-different/concept-same) or were new (color-different/concept-different, ps< .05). This suggests participants formed ad hoc mappings. Experiment 2 tested whether ad-hoc mappings rely on exact color matches, or if they code relational information (e.g., lightness differences). In the learning trials, Factor B concepts were represented by bars of the same hue and different lightnesses (e.g., b1-light-blue/b2-dark-blue). The test graph conditions were 2 hue-schemes (same/different) x 2 lightness-relations (same/different). RTs were shorter when lightness relation was preserved (p< .01) regardless of hue. Therefore, ad hoc color-concept mappings store relational information, without relying on surface matches.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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