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

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Journal publication date2012
JournalSeeing and Perceiving
IssueSuppl. 1
Number of pages1
Original languageEnglish


Using a speeded classification task, Walker and Walker (2012) demonstrated a cross-sensory correspondence between haptic size and surface brightness. Specifically, adult participants classified bright (dark) visual stimuli more quickly and accurately when this required them to press the smaller (bigger) of two response keys which were always hidden from view. The nature of the correspondence (i.e., small being aligned with bright), along with various aspects of the task situation, indicated that the congruity effect originated at later stages of information processing concerned with the semantic classification of stimuli and response selection. The study reported here provides additional evidence for the involvement of semantic coding. When the names of bright (white) edible substances (e.g., flour) and dark (black) inedible substances (e.g., soot) were classified according to their surface brightness, the same size-brightness congruity effect was observed. However, when the basis for classification of the substances was switched to their edibility, the congruity effect disappeared. It is therefore proposed that congruity effects based on cross-sensory correspondences can reflect interactions between the connotative meanings of elementary stimulus features (cf. Karwoski et al., 1942).