What is Cognitive Science

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

"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

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