Document Detail

Asymmetries in stimulus comparisons by monkey and man.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14561406     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Similarity is a core concept in theories of object recognition, categorization, and reasoning. It is often conceptualized as a geometric distance in a multidimensional stimulus space. However, research in humans has revealed that similarity judgments involve more than a simple distance calculation and tend to be asymmetric when stimuli differ in factors such as prototypicality. For example, most people judge 99 to be more similar to 100 than 100 to 99. Up to now, it was not known whether such asymmetries might also occur in nonhuman subjects. This study reveals asymmetries in the pattern of errors made by four rhesus monkeys in a temporal same/different task. Monkeys usually perceived a smaller difference between two different stimuli when the first stimulus in a trial was less prototypical than the second, just as what was found previously for human subjects. The pattern of asymmetries differed between monkeys, and a control study showed that such variability is also present for human subjects. We propose that known neurophysiological mechanisms can account for asymmetry in the stimulus comparisons of both species. Thus, seemingly complex phenomena that occur when human subjects rate stimulus similarity are also present in macaques' similarity judgments and could be based on relatively simple mechanisms.
Hans Op de Beeck; Johan Wagemans; Rufin Vogels
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Current biology : CB     Volume:  13     ISSN:  0960-9822     ISO Abbreviation:  Curr. Biol.     Publication Date:  2003 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-10-16     Completed Date:  2004-03-05     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9107782     Medline TA:  Curr Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1803-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Laboratorium voor Neuro- en Psychofysiologie, K.U.Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, B-3000, Leuven, Belgium.
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MeSH Terms
Concept Formation / physiology*
Discrimination (Psychology) / physiology*
Judgment / physiology*
Macaca mulatta / physiology,  psychology*
Pattern Recognition, Visual* / physiology*
Photic Stimulation

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