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Cross-Domain Transfer of Quantitative Discriminations: Is it All a Matter of Proportion?

Fuat Balci

Thursday, November 17, 2005, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Dept. of Psychology & Center for Cognitive Science

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Meck and Church (1983) estimated a 5:1 scale factor relating the mental magnitudes representing number to the mental magnitudes representing duration. We repeated their experiment with human subjects. We obtained transfer regardless of the objective scaling between the ranges; a 5:1 scaling for number vs. duration (measured in seconds) was not necessary. We obtained transfer even when the proportions between the end points of the number range were different. We conclude that, at least in human subjects, transfer from a discrimination based on continuous quantity (duration) to a discrimination based on discrete quantity (number) is mediated by the cross-domain comparability of within-domain proportions. The results of our second and third experiment also suggest that the subjects compare a probe with a criterion determined by the range of stimuli tested rather than by trial-specific referents, in accordance with the Pseudo Logistic Model of Killeen, Fetterman, and Bizo (1997).

Fuat Balci