The effects of contextual scenes on the identification of objects

Mem Cognit. 1975 Sep;3(5):519-26. doi: 10.3758/BF03197524.


This experiment demonstrates the influence of the prior presentation of visual scenes on the identification of briefly presented drawings of real-world objects. Different pairings of objects and scenes were used to produce three main contextual conditions: appropriate, inappropriate, and no context. Correct responses and confusions with visually similar objects depended strongly on both the contextual condition and the particular target object presented. The probability of being correct was highest in the appropriate context condition and lowest in the inappropriate context condition. Confidence ratings of responses were a function of the perceptual similarity between the stimulus object and the named object; they were not strongly affected by contextual conditions. Morton's (1970) "logogen" model provided a good quantitative fit to the response probability data.