Psychophysical study of numbers
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The purpose of this research was to determine whether the psychophysics of numerical stimuli was similar to the psychophysics of other physical attributes, such as sound and light. Numerical stimuli were randomly sampled from normal distributions and Ss responded according to magnitude. Four experimental paradigms were used. (1) Difference limens between two distributions were measured with the method of limits and (2) the method of constant stimuli. (3) d' was determined from binary choices based on one number sampled from one of two distributions. (4) Transmitted information was calculated from the confusion matrix of responses made to numbers sampled singly from multiple distributions. The four experiments yielded results comparable to those obtained with standard psychophysical stimuli. The findings suggest that Ss employ cognitive strategies with numerical stimuli similar to those they use with ordinary stimuli, thereby lending support to the underlying assumptions of several psychophysical theories.
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