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Mem Cognit. 1990 Sep;18(5):477-95.

Processes underlying dimensional interactions: correspondences between linguistic and nonlinguistic dimensions.

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Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.


In six experiments, we examined speeded classification when one dimension was linguistic and the other was nonlinguistic. In five of these, attributes on the dimensions corresponded meaningfully, having in common the concepts "high" and "low." For example, in Experiment 1, the visually presented words HI and LO were paired with high- or low-pitched tones; in Experiment 2, the dimensions were visual words and vertical position, in Experiment 3, they were spoken words and position, and in Experiments 4 and 5, spoken words and pitch. For each dimension in each pair, subjects suffered Garner interference when dimensions were varied orthogonally. Garner interference remained constant across 15 blocks of trials (Experiment 5). Subjects also showed significant congruity effects in all experiments, with attributes from congruent stimuli (e.g., HI/high pitch) classified faster than attributes from incongruent stimuli (e.g., HI/low pitch). These results differ from those obtained previously with noncorresponding pairs of linguistic-nonlinguistic dimensions. The results also differ from those obtained with traditional Stroop dimensions (colors and color words; Experiment 6), which showed minimal Garner interference and diminishing congruity effects across blocks of trials. We conclude that the interactions found here represent cross-talk between channels within a semantic level of processing. We contrast our view with current models of dimensional interaction.

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