Stimulus and response factors in mirror-image discrimination

Research paper by Joshua Staller, Robert Sekuler

Indexed on: 01 Nov '77Published on: 01 Nov '77Published in: Perception & psychophysics


Two choice-reaction time studies assessed the influence of stimulus-response mapping, stimulus complexity, and stimulus alignment on adults’ discrimination of mirror-image and nonmirror-image stimulus pairs. Half the subjects in Experiment 1 were instructed to treat nonmiiTor pairs as “same” and mirror pairs as “different”; the other half responded in the opposite manner. The first group responded more quickly to nonmirror pairs, while the second group responded more quickly to mirror pairs. This result, which held for horizontal stimuli (side by side) as well as for vertical stimuli (one above the other), confirms the importance of experiential factors in mirror-image “confusions. “ In Experiment 2. stimuli were drawn from a population of patterns whose complexity could be objectively defined. In general, the more complex the pattern, the slower the response and complexity seemed to influence the qualitative nature of pattern processing. In both experiments, subjects responded more quickly to horizontal stimuli than to vertical stimuli.