In the current study, a novel paradigm was used in which participants (N = 24) first compared the sizes of pairs of animals and then were asked, on half of the trials, to make a follow-up identification judgment regarding either the form of the comparative instruction that had just been used for the preceding comparison (i.e., smaller? or larger?) or the size of the stimuli in the comparison pair. To selectively enhance the difficulty associated with processing each of these aspects, on a large number of comparison trials, either the comparative instruction or the stimulus pair, respectively, was presented only very briefly. Results indicate that memory for the comparative instructions was dependent on the relative size of the stimulus pair such that participants were more likely to correctly identify the smaller form of the comparative instruction after comparing pairs of small stimulus items, as well as more likely to correctly identify the larger form of the comparative instruction after comparing pairs of large stimulus items. Such results are consistent with the view that the size of the stimulus pair contextually activates the representation of the congruent form of the comparative instruction.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Evidence accrual, Instructional priming, Memory demands, Semantic congruity, Symbolic comparison
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1037/cep0000040
Journal Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie experimentale
Citation
Petrusic, W.M. (William M.), Gallitto, E. (Elena), & Leth-Steensen, C. (2014). Short-term memory for the comparative instructions in symbolic comparison. Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie experimentale, 68(4), 242–249. doi:10.1037/cep0000040