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Sequential effects and memory in category judgments

By Lawrence M. Ward and G. R. Lockhead


The effects of previous stimuli on responses in an absolute judgment of loudnesses situation were investigated when feedback was and was not provided. Whether or not information feedback was provided, responses were assimilated to the value of the immediately previous stimulus in the series. The effects of stimuli more than one trial back in the sequence depend on the presence or absence of feedback. When the entire stimulus scale was shifted up or down to 5 db. from the level on the previous day, a substantial shift occurred in the constant error of judgment in the direction of the scale shift, providing evidence that a relatively long-term (24-hr.) memory process was being used in the judgment situation. None of the currently available models is adequate to account for both these results and those of earlier studies. The form of the sequential dependencies observed may depend at least partially on the presence or absence of an identification function from stimuli to responses. The effects of the previous sequence of stimuli on judgment in a psychophysical task have long been of special interest, and the nature of the effects discovered seems to be different in different experimental situations. Some investigators report an inverse relation (contrast) between the response and the preceding stimuli (Fernberger, 1920

Year: 1970
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