Psychophysical study of numbers

I. Generation of numerical responses

Summary

Two experiments were conducted to study the number biases of subjects in situations not involving the usual psychophysical stimuli. In Exp. I subjects were asked to generate numbers (within boundary conditions) they thought other people would produce under the same conditions. In Exp. II only a single lower boundary (e.g., 1,10 or 100) was employed and subjects generated a set of numbers larger than the boundary. Results suggested that definite number biases exist. Multiples of 1, 10, 100 and to a lesser extent 5, 50 and 500 dominate and are appropriate to the log cycle. That is, multiples of 1 occur most often in the cycle 1–10, multiples of 10 in the cycle 10–100, etc. The implications of these results are noted for several psychophysical theories.

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We thank Charles Lewis of the University of Illinois for advice on statistical problems.

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Baird, J.C., Noma, E. Psychophysical study of numbers. Psychol. Res 37, 281–297 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00309723

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Keywords

  • Boundary Condition
  • Lower Boundary
  • Psychophysical Study
  • Definite Number
  • Psychophysical Theory