Banana or fruit? Detection and recognition across categorical levels in RSVP
Author(s)Potter, Mary C.; Hagmann, Carl Erick
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Pictured objects and scenes can be understood in a brief glimpse, but there is a debate about whether they are first encoded at the basic level (e.g., banana), as proposed by Rosch et al. (1976, Cognitive Psychology) , or at a superordinate level (e.g., fruit). The level at which we first categorize an object matters in everyday situations because it determines whether we approach, avoid, or ignore the object. In the present study, we limited stimulus duration in order to explore the earliest level of object understanding. Target objects were presented among five other pictures using RSVP at 80, 53, 27, or 13 ms/picture. On each trial, participants viewed or heard 1 of 28 superordinate names or a corresponding basic-level name of the target. The name appeared before or after the picture sequence. Detection (as d′) improved as duration increased but was significantly above chance in all conditions and for all durations. When the name was given before the sequence, d′ was higher for the basic than for the superordinate name, showing that specific advance information facilitated visual encoding. In the name-after group, performance on the two category levels did not differ significantly; this suggests that encoding had occurred at the basic level during presentation, allowing the superordinate category to be inferred. We interpret the results as being consistent with the claim that the basic level is usually the entry level for object perception.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Potter, Mary C., and Carl Erick Hagmann. “Banana or Fruit? Detection and Recognition Across Categorical Levels in RSVP.” Psychon Bull Rev 22, no. 2 (July 24, 2014): 578–585.
Author's final manuscript