2007 volume 36(4) pages 581 – 595
doi:10.1068/p5678

Cite as:
Balcetis E, Dale R, 2007, "Conceptual set as a top – down constraint on visual object identification" Perception 36(4) 581 – 595

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Conceptual set as a top – down constraint on visual object identification

Emily Balcetis, Rick Dale

Received 12 September 2005, in revised form 11 April 2006

Abstract. Four studies are reported which demonstrate that indirectly, loosely related information, otherwise known as conceptual set, modulates object identification. Studies 1A and 1B demonstrate the impact of indirect, nonspecific, non-perceptual, conceptual primes on the interpretation of ambiguous visual figures. Study 2 demonstrates that indirect, conceptual information (category of farm animals) biases identification without requiring the activation of direct perceptual information (here the image of a horse). Study 3 uses a non-linguistic dependent measure to address the alternative explanation that language and not perception mediates the relationship between incidental conceptual prime and biased object identification. These results suggest that conceptual set constrains object identification.

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