Differences in the Speed of Mentally Processing Displays Containing Information about 'Right' and 'Left'.
Medical research progress rept. no. 3,
NAVAL SUBMARINE MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB GROTON CONN
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The results of a series of experiments using simple word-picture verification tasks showed that the mental representation of the term right is the simpler or unmarked one of the pair right-left. True matches involving the term right took less time than true matches for left or than false matches, and this held whether Ss interpreted the displays from their own perspective or from the perspective of someone facing them. However, substituting arrows for the words in the displays eliminated the effect. Thus, the asymmetry depended upon mentally representing the two directions and not upon visual scanning biases or reading habits. These data are discussed in relation to a general model of how Ss conceptualize space. In addition, problems of S-R compatibility that arise in reaction time tasks using right and left are discussed. Author