PROJECT OF MERIT
Madeleine Powers and Professor John D. Kulpa
Dr. John Kulpa | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Psychology
Studying similarity can provide insight into numerous cognitive processes, including decision making, learning, memory, and behavior in day-to-day life. Because of its wide applicability, it is important that we have good ways to measure similarity. Past research has developed methods to measure the way a person perceives the similarity between items through a multiple-trial test using a computer. In spatial arrangement methods, participants communicate perceived similarity by arranging items on a screen, with the distance between item pairs proportional to their similarity where the closer a pair of items are at the end of the trial, the more similar they are perceived to be. Existing spatial methods have considered only final arrangements of items for estimating similarity and determining the quality of those estimates. In the current archival study, I am analyzing relations between process variables–how participants moved the items to reach those final arrangements–and the quality of similarity estimates as represented by on-screen distances in final arrangements. Process variables I expect to be predictive of estimate quality for any given pair include the time spent adjusting the pair, the order in which the pair was first adjusted, and the number of times the pair was adjusted.