The temporal dynamics of size perception in adults and children

Fisher, Carmen (2018) The temporal dynamics of size perception in adults and children. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In a series of experiments, the influence of familiar object size on the speed of processing was investigated in adults and children, using a simple reaction time (RT) approach. In chapter 2, we demonstrated that children exhibited size-constancy-like responses starting from the age of five, although this conclusion was limited by task accuracy (experiment 1). The influence of symbolic and familiar size on simple RT was explored in 3 to 6-year-olds and adults (experiment 2). The task was conducted under reduced viewing conditions to enhance the contribution of familiar size as a visual cue. Although, we were unable to observe an effect of familiar or symbolic size on RT, we attributed this result to important methodological issues. In chapter 3, we report six experiments where we tested the influence of familiar size on simple RTs, measured under regular and reduced viewing conditions. The effect of animacy on RTs was also examined. We found that RTs were affected by familiar size in a manner that reflected the level of congruency between the physical size and the stored representation of size, such that congruent stimuli were responded to faster than incongruent stimuli. We also observed an animacy effect on RT: participants reacted faster to animals than non-animals. Finally, in chapter 4 we report an ERP study that investigated the electrophysiological correlates of familiar size. Results showed that the visual system processes familiar size around 100 ms after stimulus onset. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that familiar size is an automatic property of visual processing that can affect speeded motor responses. Future research could investigate the neural mechanisms underlying familiar object size and animacy, and specifically whether these mechanisms develop with age.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2018 09:49
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2018 09:49

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