Inverted-U Effects generalize to the judgment of subjective properties of faces

Publisher:
Psychonomic Society
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Perception and Psychophysics, 2008, 70 (7), pp. 1274 - 1288
Issue Date:
2008-01
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Researchers studying absolute identification have long known that it takes more time to identify a stimulus in the middle of a range than one at the extremes. That is, there is an inverted-U relation between mean response time and response position. In this task, an inverted-U relation also exists between response uncertainty and response position. Similarly, an inverted-U relation between mean response time and response position has been found for psychometric measures involving questions about the self. However, psychophysicists explain these inverted-U effects differently than do self-schema researchers. We propose an integrative framework in which task constraints explain these effects. To verify the generality of these inverted-U effects, we hypothesized that they would exist in three tasks having similar constraints-in this case, tasks involving the judgment of subjective properties of faces on a Likert-type scale. Our results are consistent with this hypothesis. We discuss the relevance of the results for other applications of Likert-type scales.
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