Memory & Cognition

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 408–424 | Cite as

Can mental rotation begin before perception finishes?

  • Eric Ruthruff
  • Jeff Miller
Article
  • 266 Downloads

Abstract

We conducted six experiments to determine if mental rotation can begin before perception finishes, as allowed by continuous flow models but not discrete stage models of information processing. The results of Experiments 1–3 showed that the effect of shape discriminability on RT was underadditive with the effect of stimulus orientation, suggesting that mental rotation began before shape discrimination had finished and that the two processes overlapped in time. The results of Experiments 4–6 indicated that mental rotation can overlap with color discriminations as well. In both sets of experiments, however, the amount of underadditivity tended to be much less than predicted by models allowing interference-free overlap. This suggests that mental rotation can overlap with perceptual analysis, contrary to fully discrete models, but that little rotation is carried out during this overlap due to interference between simultaneous discrimination and rotation processes.

References

  1. Band, G. P. H., & Miller, J. O. (1994).Mental rotation interferes with response preparation. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  2. Bonnel, A. M., Stein, J. F., &Bertucci, P. (1992). Does attention modulate the perception of luminance changes?Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,44A, 601–626.Google Scholar
  3. Bundesen, C., Larsen, A., &Farrell, J. E. (1981). Mental transformations of size and orientation. In J. B. Long & A. D. Baddeley (Eds.),Attention and performance IX (pp. 279–294). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  4. Chocholle, R. (1945). Variation des temps de reaction auditifs en fonction de l’intensité à diverses frequences.Année Psychologique,41, 65–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen, N. J., &Squire, L. R. (1980). Preserved learning and retention of pattern-analyzing skill in amnesia: Dissociation of knowing how and knowing that.Science,210, 207–210.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Coles, M. G. H. (1989). Modern mind-brain reading: Psychophysiology, physiology, and cognition.Psychophysiology,26, 251–269.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooper, L. A., &Shepard, R. N. (1973). Chronometric studies of the rotation of mental images. In W. G. Chase (Ed.),Visual information processing (pp. 75–176). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  8. Corballis, M. C., Zbrodoff, N. J., Shetzer, L. I., &Butler, P. B. (1978). Decisions about identity and orientation of rotated letters and digits.Memory & Cognition,6, 98–107.Google Scholar
  9. Damasio, A. R. (1985). Prosopagnosia.Trends in Neurosciences,8, 132–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Egeth, H. E., &Dagenbach, D. (1991). Parallel versus serial processing in visual search: Further evidence from subadditive effects of visual quality.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,17, 551–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eriksen, C. W., &Schultz, D. W. (1979). Information processing in visual search: A continuous flow conception and experimental results.Perception & Psychophysics,25, 249–263.Google Scholar
  12. Gottsdanker, R. (1979). A psychological refractory period or an unprepared period?Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,5, 208–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Greenhouse, S. W., &Geisser, S. (1959). On methods in the analysis of profile data.Psychometrika,24, 95–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jolicoeur, P., &Landau, M. J. (1984). Effects of orientation on the identification of simple visual patterns.Canadian Journal of Psychology,38, 80–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kahneman, D. (1973).Attention and effort. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  16. Luce, R. D. (1986).Response times: Their role in inferring elementary mental organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. McCann, R. S., & Johnston, J. C. (1989, November).The locus of processing bottlenecks in the overlapping tasks paradigm. Paper presented at the meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Atlanta.Google Scholar
  18. McClelland, J. L. (1979). On the time relations of mental processes: A framework for analyzing processes in cascade.Psychological Review,86, 287–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meyer, D. E., Osman, A. M., Irwin, D. E., &Yantis, S. (1988). Modern mental chronometry.Biological Psychology,26, 3–67.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Miller, J. O. (1982). Discrete versus continuous stage models of human information processing: In search of partial output.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,8, 273–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Miller, J. O. (1983). Can response preparation begin before stimulus recognition finishes?Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,9, 161–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Miller, J. O. (1987). Evidence of preliminary response preparation from a divided attention task.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,13, 425–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Miller, J. O. (1988). Discrete and continuous models of human information processing: Theoretical distinctions and empirical results.Acta Psychologica,67, 191–257.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Miller, J. O. (1993). A queue-series model for reaction time, with discrete-stage and continuous-flow models as special cases.Psychological Review,106, 702–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Miller, J. O., &Hackley, S. A. (1992). Electrophysiological evidence for temporal overlap among contingent mental processes.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,121, 195–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miller, J. O., Riehle, A., &Requin, J. (1992). Effects of preliminary perceptual output on neuronal activity of the primary motor cortex.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,18, 1121–1138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Murray, J. E., Corballis, M. C., & Campsall, J. (1992, November).Piece-by-piece rotation of visual image pairs. Paper presented at the meeting of the Psychonomic Society, St. Louis.Google Scholar
  28. Myerson, J., Widaman, K., & Hale, S. (1990, November).Theoretical implications of the variability of speeded information processing. Paper presented at the meeting of the Psychonomic Society, New Orleans.Google Scholar
  29. Navon, D., &Miller, J. O. (1987). Role of outcome conflict in dualtask interference.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,13, 435–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Norman, D. A., &Bobrow, D. G. (1975). On data-limited and resource-limited processes.Cognitive Psychology,7, 44–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Osman, A. M., Bashore, T. R., Coles, M. G. H., Donchin, E., &Meyer, D. E. (1992). On the transmission of partial information: Inferences from movement-related brain potentials.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,18, 217–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pashler, H. E. (1984). Processing stages in overlapping tasks: Evidence for a central bottleneck.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,10, 358–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rabbitt, P. M. A. (1986). Models and paradigms in the study of stress effects. In G. R. J. Hockey, A. W. K. Gaillard, & M. G. H. Coles (Eds.),Energetics and human information processing (pp. 155–174). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  34. Ruthruff, E. D., Miller, J. O., &Lachmann, T. (1995). Does mental rotation require central mechanisms?Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,21, 552–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sanders, A. F. (1980). Stage analysis of reaction processes. In G. E. Stelmach & J. Requin (Eds.),Tutorials in motor behavior (pp. 331–354). Amsterdam: North-Holland.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sanders, A. F. (1983). Towards a model of stress and human performance.Acta Psychologica,53, 61–97.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Sanders, A. F. (1990). Issues and trends in the debate on discrete vs. continuous processing of information.Acta Psychologica,74, 123–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schweickert, R., &Townsend, J. T. (1989). A trichotomy: Interactions of factors prolonging sequential and concurrent mental processes in stochastic discrete mental (PERT) networks.Journal of Mathematical Psychology,33, 328–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shaffer, L. H. (1971). Attention in transcription skill.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,23, 107–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shepard, R. N., &Cooper, L. A. (1982).Mental images and their transformations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press/Bradford Books.Google Scholar
  41. Smid, H. G. O. M., Lamain, W., Hogeboom, M. M., Mulder, G., &Mulder, L. J. M. (1991). Psychophysiological evidence for continuous information transmission between visual search and response processes.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,17, 696–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stanovich, K. E., &Pachella, R. G. (1977). Encoding, stimulusresponse compatibility, and stages of processing.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,3, 411–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sternberg, S. (1969). The discovery of processing stages: Extensions of Donders’ method.Acta Psychologica,30, 276–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sternberg, S. (1975). Memory scanning: New findings and current controversies.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,27, 1–32.Google Scholar
  45. Townsend, J. T., &Ashby, F. G. (1983).The stochastic modeling of elementary psychological processes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Welford, A. T. (1952). The “psychological refractory period” and the timing of high-speed performance—A review and a theory.British Journal of Psychology,43, 2–19.Google Scholar
  47. White, M. J. (1980). Naming and categorization of tilted alphanumeric characters do not require mental rotation.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society,15, 153–156.Google Scholar
  48. Whitt, W. (1976). Bivariate distributions with given marginals.Annals of Statistics,4, 1280–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Ruthruff
    • 1
  • Jeff Miller
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California-San DiegoLa Jolla
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations