Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology
Previous research has shown evidence for the activation of ensemble coding mechanisms at multiple levels of processing complexity (Ariely, 2001; Haberman & Whitney, 2009). Here we investigated the use of ensemble mechanisms for semantic information, as well as the role of serial and parallel processing and automaticity in generating semantic ensemble representations. Twenty-seven undergraduate students completed tasks in which they reported the average value of an entire digit display or only a subset of digits, or searched for individual digits within the display. Results show that participants could average sets of numbers following only a short presentation, and that reaction times did not increase across increasing display sizes, consistent with parallel processing. Furthermore, participants were able to attend to a full set of digits, but accurately report the average of a specific subset without knowing which subset (defined by color) was relevant ahead of time. Additional research is necessary to further clarify the role of automaticity in ensemble tasks using semantic information and to sufficiently control for low-level, perceptual features of the displays.
Lee, Kassandra R., "Ensemble Coding of Semantic Information: Are Numerical Averages Generated in Parallel?" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 578.