The Effect of Line Configuration on Perceived Numerosity of Dotted Lines
Memory and Cognition, 1997
16 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2015
Date Written: 1997
Estimates the number of objects in a line are made in many different situations. This paper demonstrates that besides the actual number of dots, aspects of line configuration affect the perceived numerosity of dotted lines. Experiment 1 provides evidence that the highly studied "clutter effect" in distance perception research replicates to the numerosity domain so that lines made up of more segments are perceived to contain more dots. Experiments 2-5 provide nomological validity for the recently proposed "direct distance" effect in distance perceptions by showing that numerosity perceptions are higher the greater the euclidean length between the line end points and by manipulating euclidean length in three orthogonal ways: the relative length of segments (Experiment 2), the angle between segments (Experiment 3), and the general direction of segments (Experiment 4). Experiment 5 conceptually replicates the results of Experiments 2-4 utilizing stimuli-based versus memory-based judgments and a discrimination task. Experiments 6 and 7 extend the research on spatial perception by demonstrating that the use of euclidean length as a source of information is inversely related to line width, with width varied through clutter (Experiment 6) and total line length (Experiment 7). Overall, the results demonstrate that the robustness of the euclidean length effect is contingent on the salience of alternative spatial heuristics-specifically, euclidean width. Theoretical implications are discussed.
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