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Vol. 10 (2003) No. 1 P 145-159




Yokosawa, Subramaniam, and Biederman (1996) asked their subjects to verify whether successively-presented two objects were the same or different in the basic-level naming class. When the two objects were different but belonged to the same superordinate category (e.g., a banana and an apple), the verifying time became slower than when they had no relation, independent of their perceptual similarity. This interference is termed the superordinate similarity effect, which indicates that superordinate-level information is processed automatically and will interfere even in the basic-level verification tasks. On the other hand, it has been controversial whether surface characteristics (e.g., color, texture, and brightness) affect basic-level recognition and superordinate-level processing of visual objects (Biederman & Ju, 1988; Price & Humphreys, 1989 etc.). In the present study, three experiments were conducted to examine the effect of surface characteristics upon the verification speed at the basic level and the interference at the superordinate level. As a result, surface characteristics facilitated the basic-level verification but did not affect the superordinate-level interference. This suggests that there exists direct link from surface characteristics to the basic-level representations, but not to the superordinate-level ones.

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