Garner Interference Is Not Solely Driven By Stimulus Uncertainty


The speeded classification tasks popularized by Garner (1974), with their accompanying labels of separable and integral dimensions, have become the dominant paradigm for characterizing perceptual interactions between stimulus dimensions. Separable dimensions like color and shape can be selectively attended to at will, but integral dimensions like hue and brightness cannot. When classifying stimuli with respect to a single dimension, integral stimuli lead to faster performance in the baseline block, where only that single dimension varies, than in the filtering block, in which a second dimension is allowed to vary irrelevantly. No such difference is predicted for separable dimensions lead to no difference. The comparison between baseline and filtering confounds a change in the number of stimuli with a change in the number of variant dimensions. A new experimental condition is proposed utilizing three stimulus dimensions to hold the number of stimuli constant while introducing variance along a second irrelevant dimension. Data indicate that interference increases, suggesting that changes in the number of potential stimuli within a block are not necessary for Garner interference, in contrast to the accounts provided by extant quantitative models.


Psychological Science

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Article - Journal

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© 2016 Psychonomic Society, Inc., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

12 Jan 2016