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Amrita Puri, Kenith Sobel, Nikolas Sieg, Zachery Stillman; The size congruity effect in visual search for digits involves both facilitation and interference . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):993. doi: 10.1167/16.12.993.
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Consistent with the size congruity effect (SCE) reported in digit comparison tasks (Henik & Tzelgov, 1982) and findings that semantic meaning influences visual search for digits (Sobel et al., 2015), a recent report suggests that searching for numerically large or small digits among distractors that differ from the target in both numerical and physical size is faster when numerical and physical size are congruent compared to when they are incongruent (Sobel & Puri, 2014). We investigated whether the SCE in visual search is due to interference between semantic and perceptual information on incongruent trials, facilitation of search on congruent trials, or both. Participants searched for three-digit target numbers that were either less than 500 (numerically small) or greater than 500 (numerically large) within displays containing four, six, or eight distractors. Targets could also be physically small among medium and large distractors, medium among small and large distractors, or large among small and medium distractors. Thus, on congruent trials, targets were either numerically and physically large or numerically and physically small, and on incongruent trials, targets were either numerically large but physically small or numerically small but physically large. Furthermore, a third set of trials involved congruence-neutral targets, which were numerically small or numerically large but physically medium, presented among physically large and physically small distractors. All conditions were within subjects, with numerically large vs. numerically small targets presented in blocks, and congruent, incongruent, and neutral trials randomly interleaved. Participants reported whether targets were on the left or right of the display. A main effect of congruence on reaction times was due to faster RTs in the congruent conditions and slower RTs in the incongruent conditions compared to the neutral conditions, suggesting both facilitation on congruent trials and interference on incongruent trials.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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