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Size-brightness correspondence: crosstalk and congruity among dimensions of connotative meaning

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number6
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)1226-1240
Publication statusPublished
Early online date6/04/12
Original languageEnglish


Following Karwoski, Odbert, and Osgood (Journal of General Psychology 26:199–222, 1942), in the present article, cross-sensory correspondences are proposed to reflect the alignment of, and extensive bidirectional cross-activation among, dimensions of connotative meaning. The size–brightness correspondence predicted on this basis (in which smaller is aligned with brighter) was confirmed in two ways. First, when participants explored three wooden balls of different size by touch alone and indicated how bright they thought each of them was, the smaller ball was judged to be brighter than the bigger ball. Second, when these two balls served as response keys in a speeded brightness-classification task, participants were quicker and more likely to be correct when confirming that a stimulus was bright (dark) when this required them to press the smaller (bigger) key, than when it required them to press the bigger (smaller) key. This congruity effect originated from interactions embedded in the later stages of information processing concerned with stimulus classification and response selection. These results, together with the observation that the cross-sensory features associated with smallness are the same as those associated with higher pitch sounds (i.e., both attributes are more active, brighter, faster, lighter in weight, quieter, sharper, and weaker than their opposites), support the suggestion that there exists a core set of cross-sensory correspondences that emerges whichever stimulus feature is used to probe it.