Transformations and Asymmetry


The transformational approach to similarity views similarity as a function of the complexity of the transformations required to ‘distort’ the representation of one object into another. These transformations may be more complex in one direction than the other, thus giving rise to asymmetric similarity relationships. Using the same-different paradigm we show that response times significantly differ depending on the direction of comparison, in line with the predictions made by the transformational approach. We discuss the implications of this result in reference to featural and spatial models.

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