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ERIC Number: EJ934496
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Selecting a Reference Object
Miller, Jared E.; Carlson, Laura A.; Hill, Patrick L.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v37 n4 p840-850 Jul 2011
One way to describe the location of an object is to relate it to another object. Often there are many nearby objects, each of which could serve as a candidate to be the reference object. A common theoretical assumption is that features that make a given object salient relative to the candidate set are instrumental in determining which is selected. The current research tests this assumption, assessing the relative importance of spatial, perceptual, and functional-interactive features. Three experiments demonstrated that spatial features have the strongest influence on reference object selection, with the perceptual feature of color playing no significant role. Functional-interactive features were shown to be spatially dependent, having an influence only when the spatial configuration enabled an interaction between the located object and the reference object. These findings challenge the common perspective that salience in and of itself dictates reference object selection and argue for a reliance on spatial features. (Contains 2 figures, 3 tables and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana