Memory & Cognition

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 389–395 | Cite as

Is three greater than five: The relation between physical and semantic size in comparison tasks

  • Avishai Henik
  • Joseph Tzelgov


In this study, subjects were asked to judge which of two digits (e.g., 3 5) was larger either in physical or in numerical size. Reaction times were facilitated when the irrelevant dimension was congruent with the relevant dimension and were inhibited when the two were incongruent (size congruity effect). Although judgments based on physical size were faster, their speed was affected by the numerical distance between the members of the digit pair, indicating that numerical distance is automatically computed even when it is irrelevant to the comparative judgment being required by the task. This finding argues for parallel processing of physical and semantic information in this task.


Relevant Dimension Physical Size Incongruent Trial Congruent Trial Irrelevant Dimension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avishai Henik
    • 1
  • Joseph Tzelgov
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesBen Gurion University of the NegevBeer-SheveIsrael

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