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Category effects on estimates of stimuli: perception or reconstruction?


, : Category effects on estimates of stimuli: perception or reconstruction?. Psychological Science 11(4): 280-284

The present study examined a common category effect that has been reported in the literature: the tendency for estimates of individual stimuli to be biased toward the central value of the presented set of stimuli. Both encoding and reconstruction accounts of this central-tendency effect are considered. Plain vertical lines and vertical lines embedded in the Müller-Lyer illusion were estimated while still in view or from memory. Although bias due to the Müller-Lyer illusion remained constant across the two conditions, bias due to the context set (category) occurred only when stimuli were estimated from memory. The results suggest that the category bias occurs at a later stage of processing than the Müller-Lyer effect and offer support for a reconstruction account of category effects on stimulus estimation.

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PMID: 11273385


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