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A Stimulus Similarity Scale for Temporal Measures of Attention in Infants and Children NICHD

Freedle, Roy O.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Attention, Cognitive Development, Infants, Preschool Children, Responses, Scaling, Sokolov, Y. N., Visual Stimuli


An earlier paper developed a choice theory of attention which predicted viewing times for stimuli in a subset of alternatives chosen from a larger set. This paper extends these ideas by constructing a stimulus similarity scale which allows one to disclose the psychological space (the dimensionality and relative distances for a given set of stimuli) implied by the matrix of similarity values. One can formulate fruitful hypotheses regarding changes in perceived dimensionality over different age groups and hence can study developmental trends using the similarity scale. This scale is shown to have a close connection with Sokolov's theory of an Orienting Response. Empirical data are presented illustrating the theory.

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