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Observing and engaging in purposeful actions with objects influences estimates of their size

Abstract

A ladle was recalled as being taller by participants who observed tedious removal of sand from it with a small teaspoon than by those who observed removal with a larger spoon. A second experiment showed that the number of darts thrown in order to hit a target correlated negatively with memory estimates of the size of the target, a finding replicated in a third experiment with size estimates made while the target was visible. The first two experiments suggest that the way an object is used can influence memory of its size. The third experiment supports the hypothesis that in vivo size estimation of familiar objects may employ a mechanism that derives size from memory and that size memory can be distorted by the way an object was used.

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Correspondence to Richard Wesp.

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Wesp, R., Cichello, P., Gracia, E.B. et al. Observing and engaging in purposeful actions with objects influences estimates of their size. Perception & Psychophysics 66, 1261–1267 (2004). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03194996

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03194996

Keywords

  • Size Estimate
  • Movement Condition
  • Familiar Object
  • Ventral Stream
  • Size Perception