Behavior research methods, instruments, & computers: a journal of the Psychonomic Society, Inc

Published by Psychonomic Society
Online ISSN: 0743-3808
Publications
Article
On the basis of calculations using the latest lexical database produced by Amano and Kondo (2000), the fourth edition of a Web-accessible database of characteristics of the 1,945 basic Japanese kanji was produced by including the mathematical concepts of entropy, redundancy, and symmetry and by replacing selected indexes found in previous editions (Tamaoka, Kirsner, Yanase, Miyaoka, & Kawakami, 2002). The kanji database in the fourth edition introduces seven new figures for kanji characteristics: (1) printed frequency, (2) lexical productivity, (3) accumulative lexical productivity, (4) symmetry for lexical productivity, (5) entropy, (6) redundancy, and (7) numbers of meanings for On-readings and Kun-readings. The file of the fourth edition of the kanji database may be downloaded from the Psychonomic Society Web archive, http://www.psychonomics.org/archive/.
 
Article
In 1981, the Japanese government published a list of the 1,945 basic Japanese kanji (Jooyoo Kanji-hyo), including specifications of pronunciation. This list was established as the standard for kanji usage in print. The database for 1,945 basic Japanese kanji provides 30 cells that explain in detail the various characteristics of kanji. Means, standard deviations, distributions, and information related to previous research concerning these kanji are provided in this paper. The database is saved as a Microsoft Excel 2000 file for Windows. This kanji database is accessible on the Web site of the Oxford Text Archive, Oxford University (http://ota.ahds.ac.uk). Using this database, researchers and educators will be able to conduct planned experiments and organize classroom instruction on the basis of the known characteristics of selected kanji.
 
Article
Homographs and homophones have interesting linguistic properties that make them useful in many experiments involving language. To assist researchers in the elicitation of homophones, this paper presents a set of 93 line-drawn pictures of objects with homophonic names and a set of 108 questions with homophonic answers. Statistics are also included for each picture and question: Picture statistics include name-agreement percentages, dominance, and frequency statistics of depicted referents, and picture-naming latencies both with and without study of the picture names. For questions, statistics include answer-agreement percentages, difficulty ratings, dominance, frequency statistics, and naming latencies for 60 of the most consistently answered questions.
 
Article
Sentence completion norms are a valuable resource for researchers interested in studying the effects of context on word recognition processes. Norms for 112 Spanish sentences were compiled with the use of experimental software accessed over the World-Wide Web. Several measures summarizing the distribution of responses for each sentence are reported, including Schwanenflugel's (1986) multiple-production measure of sentence constraint strength, the type-token ratio, and the information-theoretic measure of redundancy. The complete set of completion norms is available at http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/~monica/spanish_completion_norms.html.
 
Estimates of Reliability of Collected Data Throughout the Different Tasks in the Present Study Estimates of Reliability 
Category Names Together With the Number and the Translations of Selected Exemplars
Article
A data set is described that includes eight variables gathered for 13 common superordinate natural language categories and a representative set of 338 exemplars in Dutch. The category set contains 6 animal categories (reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish, and insects), 3 artifact categories (musical instruments, tools, and vehicles), 2 borderline artifact-natural-kind categories (vegetables and fruit), and 2 activity categories (sports and professions). In an exemplar and a feature generation task for the category nouns, frequency data were collected. For each of the 13 categories, a representative sample of 5-30 exemplars was selected. For all exemplars, feature generation frequencies, typicality ratings, pairwise similarity ratings, age-of-acquisition ratings, word frequencies, and word associations were gathered. Reliability estimates and some additional measures are presented. The full set of these norms is available in Excel format at the Psychonomic Society Web archive, www.psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Article
We have developed and tested 144 compound remote associate problems. Across eight experiments, 289 participants were given four time limits (2 sec, 7 sec, 15 sec, or 30 sec) for solving each problem. This paper provides a brief overview of the problems and normative data regarding the percentage of participants solving, and mean time-to-solution for, each problem at each time limit. These normative data can be used in selecting problems on the basis of difficulty or mean time necessary for reaching a solution.
 
Article
In this article, normative data on the familiarity and difficulty of 196 single-solution Spanish word fragments are presented. The database includes the following indices: difficulty, familiarity, frequency, number of meanings, number of letters given in the fragment, first and/or last letters given, and ratio of letters to blanks. A factor analysis was performed on difficulty, and two factors were obtained. Frequency, familiarity, and number of meanings loaded highly on the first factor, which we consider to measure lexical processes, whereas number of letters in the fragment, first and/or last letters given, and ratio of letters to blanks loaded highly on the second factor, which we judge to be determined by perceptual information. Regression analyses using factor scores as predictors showed that both factors accounted for a significant part of the completion probability scores. The full set of these norms may be downloaded from the Psychonomic Society Web archive at www.psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Descriptive Statistics and Reliabilities for Expanded Properties Scale Mean SD Alpha Acronym 
Article
The Paivio, Yuille, and Madigan (1968) norms for 925 nouns were extended in two ways. The first extension involved the collecting of a much more extensive and diverse set of properties from original ratings and other sources. Factor analysis of 32 properties identified 9 orthogonal factors and demonstrated both the redundancy among various measures and the tendency for some attributes (e.g., age of acquisition) to load on multiple factors. The second extension collected basic ratings of imagery, familiarity, and a new age of acquisition measure for a larger pool of 2,311 words, including parts of speech other than nouns. The analysis of these ratings and supplementary statistics computed for the words (e.g., number of syllables, Kucera-Francis frequency) demonstrated again the relative independence of various measures and the importance of obtaining diverse properties for such norms. Implications and directions for future research are considered. The full set of new norms may be downloaded from www. psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Number of interactive voice response (IVR) and computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) publications per year (1977–2000).  
Article
A systematic review of the use of interactive voice response (IVR) was conducted. IVR is a telephone interviewing technique in which the human speaker is replaced by a high-quality recorded interactive script to which the respondent provides answers by pressing the keys of a touch telephone (touchphone). IVR has numerous advantages, including economy, autonomy, confidentiality, access to certain population groups, improved data quality, standardized interviewing, multilingual interfaces, and detailed longitudinal assessments. Despite this, there have been few applications of IVR. Previous studies have been in the areas of information services, reminder calls, monitoring, assessment, experimentation, interventions, and surveys. Areas that have received little attention have been the systematic evaluation of voice, multilingual interfaces, touchphone prevalence, survey response rates, use by the elderly, and acceptability.
 
The Borland C11 Builder 5.0 Integrated Design Environment.  
Article
Modern experiments in the behavioral sciences frequently employ several items of electronic equipment such as computers, monitoring devices, stimulus presentation equipment, and response collection systems. In many cases it would be advantageous for these items to communicate directly with each other. Such communication may facilitate greater automation of experiments (i.e., reduced experimenter influences during the experiment), more precise experiment control (i.e., superior timing and synchronization capabilities of electronic devices), and greater accuracy of data collection (i.e., reduced ambiguity of participant responses). Many electronic experiment devices already provide external interfaces through which communication with other devices can be implemented. The most common is based on the RS-232 protocol, which is also found in all standard PCs. Therefore, Microsoft Windows based computers can be programmed to control experiments by communicating directly with electronic experiment devices. We show how to implement this RS-232 interconnection between devices and a Windows PC using currently available software tools.
 
Article
This paper provides rating norms for a set of symbols and icons selected from a wide variety of sources. These ratings enable the effects of symbol characteristics on user performance to be systematically investigated. The symbol characteristics that have been quantified are considered to be of central relevance to symbol usability research and include concreteness, complexity, meaningfulness, familiarity, and semantic distance. The interrelationships between each of these dimensions is examined and the importance of using normative ratings for experimental research is discussed.
 
Article
Myors (1998) showed how to combine familiar video page switching with bit-plane layering in video mode 0dh to increase the capacity of the PC tachistoscope from 8 to 32 pages. The present article shows how to combine video page switching with color page switching to implement a 240-page tachistoscope, thus producing an almost eightfold increase in the capacity of the PC tachistoscope. The main limitation of this technique is that the images cannot all be located in the same position on the screen. Complete source code in C is included.
 
Coefficient of Determ ination (r 2 ), F, p, and MS e Values Among Identification Thresholds and Psycholinguistic Variables 
Article
Word difficulty varies from language to language; therefore, normative data of verbal stimuli cannot be imported directly from another language. We present mean identification thresholds for the 260 screen-fragmented words corresponding to the total set of Snodgrass and Vanderwart (1980) pictures. Individual words were fragmented in eight levels using Turbo Pascal, and the resulting program was implemented on a PC microcomputer. The words were presented individually to a group of 40 Spanish observers, using a controlled time procedure. An unspecific learning effect was found showing that performance improved due to practice with the task. Finally, of the 11 psycholinguistic variables that previous researchers have shown to affect word identification, only imagery accounted for a significant amount of variance in the threshold values.
 
Article
The present study provides Italian normative measures for 266 line drawings belonging to the new set of pictures developed by Lotto, Dell'Acqua, and Job (in press). The pictures have been standardized on the following measures: number of letters, number of syllables, name frequency, within-category typically, familiarity, age of acquisition, name agreement, and naming time. In addition to providing the measures, the present study focuses on indirect and direct comparisons (i.e., correlations) of the present norms with databases provided by comparable studies in Italian (in which normative data were collected with Snodgrass & Vanderwart's set of pictures; Nisi, Longoni, & Snodgrass, 2000), in British English (Barry, Morrison, & Ellis, 1997), in American English (Snodgrass & Vanderwart, 1980; Snodgrass & Yuditsky, 1996), in French (Alario & Ferrand, 1999), and in Spanish (Sanfeliu & Fernandez, 1996).
 
Article
Pictures are often used as stimuli in studies of perception, language, and memory. Since performances on different sets of pictures are generally contrasted, stimulus selection requires the use of standardized material to match pictures across different variables. Unfortunately, the number of standardized pictures available for empirical research is rather limited. The aim of the present study is to provide French normative data for a new set of 299 black-and-white drawings. Alario and Ferrand (1999) were closely followed in that the pictures were standardized on six variables name agreement, image agreement, conceptual familiarity, visual complexity, image variability, and age of acquisition. Objective frequency measures are also provided for themost common names associated with the pictures. Comparative analyses between our results and the norms obtained in other, similar studies are reported. Finally, naming latencies corresponding to the set of pictures were also collected from French native speakers, and correlational/multiple-regression analyses were performed on naming latencies. This new set of standardized pictures is available on the Internet (http://leadserv.u-bourgogne.fr/bases/pictures/) and should be of great use to researchers when they select pictorial stimuli.
 
Article
Imageability ratings made on a 1-7 scale and reaction times for 3,000 monosyllabic words were obtained from 31 participants. Analyses comparing these ratings to 1,153 common words from Toglia and Battig (1978) indicate that these ratings are valid. Reliability was assessed (alpha = .95). The information obtained in this study adds to that of other normative studies and is useful to researchers interested in manipulating or controlling imageability in word recognition and memory studies. These norms can be downloaded from www.psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Article
Two studies examined the relationship between self-monitoring and factors influencing romantic attraction to others. In Study 1, participants completed an Internet-mediated version of the Self-Monitoring Scale (Gangestad & Snyder, 1985) and indicated which of two people (one physically attractive, one with a more desirable personality) they found most attractive. Results matched previous findings (Snyder, Berscheid, & Glick, 1985), but the effect was smaller. Study 2, a paper-and-pencil replication of Study 1, examined whether the weaker effect was due to Internet mediation and found no differences in the choices made by high and low self-monitors. Results suggested that while determinants of attraction may vary for different populations, Internet research methods can tap the same phenomena as traditional laboratory studies.
 
Article
The Immediate and Delayed Memory Task (IMT/DMT), a variant of the Continuous Performance Test (CPT), is a new software package designed to be a flexible research tool for the study of attention, memory, and impulsivity. This package allows researchers to determine the design to be used during a testing session and to manipulate many of the parameters. It features two components: the IMT and the DMT, both of which present sequential 2- to 7-digit stimuli with variable presentation rates and intertrial intervals. Subjects respond to identically matched stimuli presented consecutively, spanning a brief period of time (IMT), or to stimuli spanning a greater period of time (during which intervening stimuli to be ignored appear; DMT). Task complexity can be adjusted to suit applications for both children and adults. Preliminary studies have demonstrated that these laboratory tasks are sensitive to group differences, produce stable baselines of performance, and are sensitive to drug-induced performance decrements.
 
Article
The present article provides French normative measures for 400 line drawings taken from Cycowicz, Friedman, Rothstein, and Snodgrass (1997), including the 260 line drawings that were normed by Snodgrass and Vanderwart (1980). The pictures have been standardized on the following variables: name agreement, image agreement, familiarity, visual complexity, image variability, and age of acquisition. These normative data also include word frequency values and the first verbal associate (taken from Ferrand & Alario, 1998). The six variables obtained are important because of their potential effect in many fields of psychology, especially the study of cognitive processes such as visual perception, language, and memory.
 
Article
In auditory research, it is often desirable to present more than two auditory stimuli at any one time. Although the technology has been available for some time, the majority of researchers have not utilized it. This article provides a simple means of presenting multiple, concurrent, independent auditory events, using two or more different sound cards installed within a single computer. By enabling the presentation of more auditory events, we can hope to gain a better understanding of the cognitive and attentional processes operating under more complex and realistic scenes, such as that embodied by the cocktail party effect. The software requirements are Windows 98SR2/Me/NT4/2000/XP, Visual Basic 6.0, and DirectX 7.0 or above. The hardware requirements are a Pentium II, 128 MB RAM, and two or more different sound cards.
 
Article
When uncertain about the magnitude of an effect, researchers commonly substitute in the standard sample-size-determination formula an estimate of effect size derived from a previous experiment. A problem with this approach is that the traditional sample-size-determination formula was not designed to deal with the uncertainty inherent in an effect-size estimate. Consequently, estimate-substitution in the traditional sample-size-determination formula can lead to a substantial loss of power. A method of sample-size determination designed to handle uncertainty in effect-size estimates is described. The procedure uses the t value and sample size from a previous study, which might be a pilot study or a related study in the same area, to establish a distribution of probable effect sizes. The sample size to be employed in the new study is that which supplies an expected power of the desired amount over the distribution of probable effect sizes. A FORTRAN 77 program is presented that permits swift calculation of sample size for a variety of t tests, including independent t tests, related t tests, t tests of correlation coefficients, and t tests of multiple regression b coefficients.
 
Pearson Correlations Among Word Attributes ACA ACON AIM CCA CCON CIM ECA ECON EIM 
Article
Normative values on various word characteristics were obtained for abstract, concrete, and emotion words in order to facilitate research on concreteness effects and on the similarities and differences among the three word types. A sample of 78 participants rated abstract, concrete, and emotion words on concreteness, context availability, and imagery scales. Word associations were also gathered for abstract, concrete, and emotion words. The data were used to investigate similarities and differences among these three word types on word attributes, association strengths, and number of associations. These normative data can be used to further research on concreteness effects, word type effects, and word recognition for abstract, concrete, and emotion words.
 
Article
Recent discussions regarding technology-assisted distance education have given rise both to enthusiastic predictions about how this form of instruction will transform higher educational institutions and to widespread fears about the threats that this technology poses to the student-teacher relationship and to the profession of university teacher in general. A review of opinions regarding distance education and computer technology in academia suggests a continuum of positions, ranging from the expectation that dramatic and even cataclysmic changes will lead to the eventual dissolution of the university to an envisioning of only minor changes in the academy's objectives and methods. In the present paper, this continuum is used as an organizing scheme to present the positions of several well-known advocates for and against the use of distance education and information technology. It is argued that the accreditation process will ultimately determine the degree to which distance education replaces traditional classroom instruction and that this process can be influenced by faculty involvement in decisions about the use of technology in the classroom.
 
Axes and planes 
Permutation of blocked conditions 
Hierarchical classification
True and detected motions and postures (two-sensor configuration) 
Proposed sensor configuration for standard accelerometric detection of posture and motion patterns. 
Article
Basic motion patterns and posture can be distinguished by multichannel accelerometry, as recently shown. A refinement of this method appeared to be desirable to further increase its effectiveness, especially to distinguish walking and climbing stairs, and body rotation during sleep. Recordings were made of 31 subjects, according to a standard protocol comprising 13 motions and postures. This recording was repeated three times with appropriate permutation. Five uni-axial sensors and three sites of placement (sternum with three axes, right and left thigh) were selected. A hierarchical classification strategy used a standard protocol (i.e., individual reference patterns) to distinguish subtypes of moving behaviors and posture. The analysis method of the actometer signals reliably detected 13 different postural and activity conditions (only 3.2% misclassifications). A minimum set of sensors can be found for a given application; for example, a two-sensor configuration would clearly suffice to differentiate between four basic classes (sitting, standing, lying, moving) in ambulatory monitoring.
 
Article
Advanced ambulatory systems that measure aspects of overt human behavior during normal daily life have become feasible, owing to developments in data recording and sensor technology. One such instrument is the Activity Monitor (AM). This paper provides a technical description of the AM and information about its validity and current applications. The AM is based on ambulatory accelerometry, the aim of which is to assess postures and motions for long-term (> 24-h) measurement periods during normal daily life. Accelerometers are attached to the thighs, trunk, and lower arms, and signals are continuously stored in a digital portable recorder. In the postmeasurement analysis, postures and motions are detected by means of custom-made software programs. Validity studies performed on different populations showed high agreement scores between the computerized and automatic AM output and the visually analyzed video recordings. The AM has so far been applied in rehabilitation, psychophysiology, and cardiology but has many possibilities in behavioral research.
 
Article
Gilles de la Tourette syndrome is a chronic neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by recurrent and involuntary tics, in addition to complex behavioral symptoms. Objective quantification of the nonspecific movements in Tourette patients can contribute much to understanding the pathophysiology of this disease. We used three accelerometers to characterize head movement patterns and to objectively quantify head motility in the lateral, sagittal, and transversal planes in 9 Tourette patients and 14 controls during periods of rest, conversation, and watching a videotape with an entertaining program. Characteristic head movement patterns can be documented by means of accelerometry. Head motility levels in the lateral, sagittal, and transversal planes were significantly higher in the patients than in the controls during all the procedures. The patients and the controls showed a similar significant increase in head motility during conversation, but not during video watching. This first study shows that for both standardized and ambulatory research, accelerometry may provide an objective tool by which to quantify the severity and temporal dynamics of tics or nonspecific movements.
 
Article
The ESPbase provides a tool for storing symbols and icons along with information about their characteristics. Information about a wide range of symbol characteristics is included on the database to facilitate the selection of symbol sets for research and design. The database includes information about the graphical characteristics and functions of symbols. It also includes ratings of symbol concreteness, complexity, familiarity, and meaningfulness. Symbols and icons can be accessed on the basis of each of these characteristics or any combination of characteristics. This makes it easier to select symbols on the basis of usability and design requirements. It also means that symbols can be easily selected for research while controlling their characteristics on a number of dimensions.
 
Article
PsyScope is a graphically oriented, script-based program for the control of experiments on Macintosh computers that has been made freely available to the psychology community by its developers (Cohen, MacWhinney, Flatt, & Provost, 1993) at Carnegie Mellon University. We describe a graduated tutorial that was written for new users of PsyScope (instructors or students); the text and scripts can be retrieved from a website at Hamilton College (http:/(/)cogito.hamilton.edu/tutorial/). The tutorial examples may be used as classroom demonstrations or as pedagogical aids in teaching students how to use PsyScope in their own research projects. The four examples include a Stroop test, simple and choice reaction time, and a sentence-verification task.
 
Article
Several Web animation methods were independently assessed on fast and slow systems running two popular Web browsers under MacOS and Windows. The methods assessed included those requiring programming (Authorware, Java, Javascript/Jscript), browser extensions (Flash and Authorware), or neither (animated GIF). The number of raster scans that an image in an animation was presented for was counted. This was used as an estimate of the minimum presentation time for the image when the software was set to update the animation as quickly as possible. In a second condition, the image was set to be displayed for 100 msec, and differences between observed and expected presentations were used to assess accuracy. In general, all the methods except Java deteriorated as a function of the speed of the computer system, with the poorest temporal resolutions and greatest variability occurring on slower systems. For some animation methods, poor performance was dependent on browser, operating system, system speed, or combinations of these.
 
Diagram showing setup oflaser apparatus, including the extension handle used to control the laser beam and a vertical reference line. Not apparent is the swivel mount for the laser device.  
Article
A new technique is described that permits precise measurement of accuracy and distortion in judgments of linear dimensions based on either perception or memory. This technique involves the use of a single laser beam and a reference line placed on a projection surface. By rotating a laser device, the distance between the reference line and the point created by the beam may be continuously varied. This procedure avoids unintentional distortion from misjudgment of standard metrics, while the semicircular movement required by this technique eliminates body-referenced estimation and some other potential confounds. Potential applications to research in visual perception, spatial memory, and body image are discussed.
 
Article
The time in which to press a key and the video retrace interval were measured under various conditions of MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, and Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. All the measurements were obtained with the same program running on a single Pentium 300 computer. In all, samples of 1,000 timing measurements were obtained in each of 96 different conditions. Standard deviations of the times ranged from about 0.0006 msec under DOS 6.22 to almost 40 msec under Windows 3.11, representing an increase in timing error of up to 6,000,000%. Researchers requiring millisecond timing accuracy are recommended to use DOS only.
 
Article
DMDX is a Windows-based program designed primarily for language-processing experiments. It uses the features of Pentium class CPUs and the library routines provided in DirectX to provide accurate timing and synchronization of visual and audio output. A brief overview of the design of the program is provided, together with the results of tests of the accuracy of timing. The Web site for downloading the software is given, but the source code is not available.
 
Article
Video cameras provide a simple, noninvasive method for monitoring a subject's eye movements. An important concept is that of the resolution of the system, which is the smallest eye movement that can be reliably detected. While hardware systems are available that estimate direction of gaze in real-time from a video image of the pupil, such systems must limit image processing to attain real-time performance and are limited to a resolution of about 10 arc minutes. Two ways to improve resolution are discussed. The first is to improve the image processing algorithms that are used to derive an estimate. Off-line analysis of the data can improve resolution by at least one order of magnitude for images of the pupil. A second avenue by which to improve resolution is to increase the optical gain of the imaging setup (i.e., the amount of image motion produced by a given eye rotation). Ophthalmoscopic imaging of retinal blood vessels provides increased optical gain and improved immunity to small head movements but requires a highly sensitive camera. The large number of images involved in a typical experiment imposes great demands on the storage, handling, and processing of data. A major bottleneck had been the real-time digitization and storage of large amounts of video imagery, but recent developments in video compression hardware have made this problem tractable at a reasonable cost. Images of both the retina and the pupil can be analyzed successfully using a basic toolbox of image-processing routines (filtering, correlation, thresholding, etc.), which are, for the most part, well suited to implementation on vectorizing supercomputers.
 
Article
Recent studies by Myors (1998, 1999) have concluded that the Microsoft Windows operating system is unable to support sufficient timing precision and resolution for use in psychological research. In the present study, we reexamined the timing accuracy of Windows 95/98, using (1) external chronometry, (2) methods to maximize the system priority of timing software, and (3) timing functions with a theoretical resolution of 1 msec or better. The suitability of various peripheral response devices and the relative timing accuracy of computers with microprocessors with different speeds were also explored. The results indicate that if software is properly controlled, submillisecond timing resolution is achievable under Windows with both old and new computers alike. Of the computer input devices tested, the standard parallel port was revealed as the most precise, and the serial mouse also exhibited sufficient timing precision for use in single-interval reaction time experiments.
 
Mean response times (RTs) to correctly recognize each expression. Standard error bars are shown.
Article
Equal numbers of male and female participants judged which of seven facial expressions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, neutrality, sadness, and surprise) were displayed by a set of 336 faces, and we measured both accuracy and response times. In addition, the participants rated how well the expression was displayed (i.e., the intensity of the expression). These three measures are reported for each face. Sex of the rater did not interact with any of the three measures. However, analyses revealed that some expressions were recognized more accurately in female than in male faces. The full set of these norms may be downloaded from www.psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Experimental setup showing the wiring diagram between the keyboard of the PC under test and the photocell with the printer port of the SlavePC . 
Parts list and wiring diagram of the photodetector. 
Article
Timing accuracy in presenting experimental stimuli (visual information on a PC or on a TV) and responding (keyboard presses and mouse signals) is of importance in several experimental paradigms. In this article, a simple system for measuring timing accuracy is described. The system uses two PCs (at least Pentium II, 200 MHz), a photocell, and an amplifier. No additional boards and timing hardware are needed. The first PC, a SlavePC, monitors the keyboard presses or mouse signals from the PC under test and uses a photocell that is placed in front of the screen to detect the appearance of visual stimuli on the display. The software consists of a small program running on the SlavePC. The SlavePC is connected through a serial line with a second PC. This MasterPC controls the SlavePC through an ActiveX control, which is used in a Visual Basic program. The accuracy of our system was investigated by using a similar setup of a SlavePC and a MasterPC to generate pulses and by using a pulse generator card. These tests revealed that our system has a 0.01-msec accuracy. As an illustration, the reaction time accuracy of INQUISIT for a few applications was tested using our system. It was found that in those applications that we investigated, INQUISIT measures reaction times from keyboard presses with millisecond accuracy.
 
Article
We demonstrate how to produce complex image transformations of bitmap files for vision experiments using the Cogimatic Vision Starter Kit (VSK) library of mathematical routines along with Visual Basic, C++, or the Delphi Pascal compiler. Implementing this system on an IBM-compatible PC running Windows 95, 98, or NT4 enables researchers to quickly and economically manipulate images for vision research. The VSK includes a simple stand-alone image-processing application. In addition, VSK has the ability to automate image transformations and to fully integrate image processing into new experimental software on the PC platform.
 
Article
Methods for automated stimulus display and accurate response time measurement with IBM-compatible PCs are of great importance in cognitive research designs. Accurate measurements of reaction times are required to interpolate other measures, such as speed of mental processing. We present a description of hardware and software that displays stimulus images and performs reaction timing that is not dependent on PC performance characteristics. This is accomplished by electronically bypassing timing errors normally inherent to the operation of the computer. A high-precision external timer measures the time between stimulus onset and a subject's push-button response while a video blanking circuit controls the video presented to the monitor screen. Two options for accurately detecting stimulus onset are presented: (1) A photodetector can be used to sense the actual onset of the stimulus on a secondary video monitor screen; (2) the video blanking circuit can provide a signal coincident with the initiation of video to the monitor. Both methods result in a system timing accuracy of 100 microseconds.
 
Article
The CFVlexvar.xls database includes imageability, frequency, and grammatical properties of the first words acquired by Italian children. For each of 519 words that are known by children 18-30 months of age (taken from Caselli & Casadio's, 1995, Italian version of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory), new values of imageability are provided and values for age of acquisition, child written frequency, and adult written and spoken frequency are included. In this article, correlations among the variables are discussed and the words are grouped into grammatical categories. The results show that words acquired early have imageable referents, are frequently used in the texts read and written by elementary school children, and are frequent in adult written and spoken language. Nouns are acquired earlier and are more imageable than both verbs and adjectives. The composition in grammatical categories of the child's first vocabulary reflects the composition of adult vocabulary. The full set of these norms can be downloaded from www.psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Test Phase: Lexical Items, Screen Orientation, and Difficulty Level 
Proportion of Items Correctly Identified by Each Participant as a Function of Difficulty Level 
Article
The majority of research on the acquisition of spoken language has focused on language production, due to difficulties in the assessment of comprehension. A primary limitation to comprehension assessment is maintaining the interest and attention of younger infants. We have developed an assessment procedure that addresses the need for an extensive performance-based measure of comprehension in the 2nd year of life. In the interest of developing an engaging approach that takes into account infants' limited attention capabilities, we designed an assessment based on touchscreen technology. This approach builds upon prior research by combining standardization and complexity with an engaging infant-friendly interface. Data suggest that the touchscreen procedure is effective in eliciting and maintaining infant attention and will yield more extensive and reliable estimates of early comprehension than do other procedures. The software to implement the assessment is available free of charge for academic purposes.
 
Mean Age of Acquisition Ratings for Ambiguous Nouns and Verbs Age of Acquisition Ratings 
Multiple Regression Analysis With Rated Age of Acquisition as the Dependent Variable and Six Independent Variables 
Article
Age of acquisition and imageability ratings were collected for 2,645 words, including 892 verbs and 213 function words. Words that were ambiguous as to grammatical category were disambiguated: Verbs were shown in their infinitival form, and nouns (where appropriate) were preceded by the indefinite article (such as to crack and a crack). Subjects were speakers of British English selected from a wide age range, so that differences in the responses across age groups could be compared. Within the subset of early acquired noun/verb homonyms, the verb forms were rated as later acquired than the nouns, and the verb homonyms of high-imageability nouns were rated as significantly less imageable than their noun counterparts. A small number of words received significantly earlier or later age of acquisition ratings when the 20-40 years and 50-80 years age groups were compared. These tend to comprise words that have come to be used more frequently in recent years (either through technological advances or social change), or those that have fallen out of common usage. Regression analyses showed that although word length, familiarity, and concreteness make independent contributions to the age of acquisition measure, frequency and imageability are the most important predictors of rated age of acquisition.
 
Distortion levels due to arithmetic and geometric averaging of exponential functions. The abscissa represents the ratio of the asymptote parameters of these functions to their scale parameters (a i /b i ). The ordinate represents the difference between residual sums of squares (RSS) for exponential and power function fits to the average curves. Negative values indicate a better exponential fit, and positive values indicate a better power fit to averaged exponential function data. 
Article
We examine recent concerns that averaged learning curves can present a distorted picture of individual learning. Analyses of practice curve data from a range of paradigms demonstrate that such concerns are well founded for fits of power and exponential functions when the arithmetic average is computed over participants. We also demonstrate that geometric averaging over participants does not, in general, avoid distortion. By contrast, we show that block averages of individual curves and similar smoothing techniques cause little or no distortion of functional form, while still providing the noise reduction benefits that motivate the use of averages. Our analyses are concerned mainly with the effects of averaging on the fit of exponential and power functions, but we also define general conditions that must be met by any set of functions to avoid distortion from averaging.
 
Article
In two normative studies, we examined daily scripted activities from the perspective that scripts are frequency-based knowledge structures. In Study 1 individuals recorded their daily activities for 7 consecutive days. Fifteen activities that were reported with low, moderate, and high frequency were selected for Study 2, in which individuals generated a script for each activity. The 18 most frequently generated events from each script are reported, along with their centrality and distinctiveness rankings and the number of individuals reporting each event. Overall, the mean number of events generated increased with increasing script frequency, suggesting that script representations are subject to frequency effects. Also, we found a high level of consistency across the three age groups in the events generated in each script and in their corresponding rankings of centrality and distinctiveness. Finally, we found no evidence of age or gender bias in the frequency or recency of engaging in each of the scripted activities.
 
Article
This article presents a top-down approach for analyzing sequential events in behavioral data. Analysis of behavioral sequential data often entails identifying patterns specified by the researchers. Algorithms were developed and applied to analyze a kind of behavioral data, called discrete action protocol data. Discrete action protocols consist of discrete user actions, such as mouse clicks and keypresses. Unfortunately, the process of analyzing the huge volume of actions (typically, > 10(5)) is very labor intensive. To facilitate this process, we developed an action protocol analyzer (ACT-PRO) that provides two levels of pattern matching. Level one uses formal grammars to identify sequential patterns. Level two matches these patterns to a hierarchical structure. ACT-PRO can be used to determine how well data fit the patterns specified by an experimenter. Complementarily, it can be used to focus an experimenter's attention on data that do not fit the prespecified patterns.
 
Article
The aim of the present study was to provide French normative data for 112 action line drawings. The set of action pictures consisted of 71 drawings taken from Masterson and Druks (1998) and 41 additional drawings. It was standardized on six psycholinguistic variables--that is, name agreement, image agreement, image variability, visual complexity, conceptual familiarity, and age of acquisition (AoA). Naming latencies to the action pictures were collected, and a regression analysis was performed on the naming latencies, with the standardized variables, as well as with word frequency and length, taken as predictors. A reliable influence of AoA, name agreement, and image agreement on the naming latencies was observed. The findings are consistent with previous published studies in other languages. The full set of these norms may be downloaded from www.psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Correlation Matrix Among All Independent Variables and Naming Times 
Results of the Multiple Regression Analysis With Naming Times as the Dependent Variable in Phase 2 
Results of the Multiple Regression Analysis With Number of Naming Errors as the Dependent Variable in Phase 2 
Article
The present article provides Spanish norms for name agreement, printed word frequency, word compound frequency, familiarity, imageability, visual complexity, age of acquisition, and word length (measured by syllables and phonemes) for 100 line drawings of actions taken from Druks and Masterson (2000). In addition, through a naming-time experiment carried out with a group of 54 Spanish students in a pool of 63 of these line drawings, we determined the best predictors of naming actions. In the multiple regression analysis, age of acquisition and name agreement emerged as the most important determinants of action-naming reaction time.
 
Article
A set of 142 photographs of actions (taken from Fiez & Tranel, 1997) was standardized in French on name agreement, image agreement, conceptual familiarity, visual complexity, imageability, age of acquisition, and duration of the depicted actions. Objective word frequency measures were provided for the infinitive modal forms of the verbs and for the cumulative frequency of the verbal forms associated with the photographs. Statistics on the variables collected for action items were provided and compared with the statistics on the same variables collected for object items. The relationships between these variables were analyzed, and certain comparisons between the current database and other similar published databases of pictures of actions are reported. Spoken and written naming latencies were also collected for the photographs of actions, and multiple regression analyses revealed that name agreement, image agreement, and age of acquisition are the major determinants of action naming speed. Finally, certain analyses were performed to compare object and action naming times. The norms and the spoken and written naming latencies corresponding to the pictures are available on the Internet (http://www.psy.univ-bpclermont.fr/~pbonin/pbonin-eng.html) and should be of great use to researchers interested in the processing of actions.
 
Article
We present a set of stimuli representing human actions under point-light conditions, as seen from different viewpoints. The set contains 22 fairly short, well-delineated, and visually "loopable" actions. For each action, we provide movie files from five different viewpoints as well as a text file with the three spatial coordinates of the point lights, allowing researchers to construct customized versions. The full set of stimuli may be downloaded from www.psychonomic.org/archive/.
 
Illustration of the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), here worn on a belt. 
Article
A recording device called the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) is described. The EAR taperecords for 30 sec once every 12 min for 2-4 days. It is lightweight and portable, and it can be worn comfortably by participants in their natural environment. The acoustic data samples provide a nonobtrusive record of the language used and settings entered by the participant. Preliminary psychometric findings suggest that the EAR data accurately reflect individuals' natural social, linguistic, and psychological lives. The data presented in this article were collected with a first-generation EAR system based on analog tape recording technology, but a second generation digital EAR is now available.
 
Article
An objective technique for estimating the kinetics of dark adaptation is presented, with which one can evaluate models with multiple parameters, evaluate several models of dark adaptation simultaneously, and rapidly analyze large data sets. Another advantage is the ability to simultaneously estimate transition times and rates of sensitivity recovery. Finally, this nonlinear regression technique does not require that the distributional properties of the data be transformed, and thus, parameter estimates are in meaningful units and reflect the actual rate of recovery of sensitivity.
 
Top-cited authors
Kenneth Forster
  • The University of Arizona
Douglas L Nelson
  • University of South Florida
Cathy Mcevoy
  • University of South Florida
Ludovic Ferrand
  • CNRS and Université Clermont Auvergne
Arthur C. Graesser
  • The University of Memphis