Verbal and Pictorial Similarity in Recognition of Pictures

Student Co-author

CGU Graduate

Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU), Psychology (Pomona)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This experiment explored the role of pictorial and verbal coding in memory for pictures. Ss viewed slides for either 3 or 10 sec each. One hour after viewing they were given a two-alternative forced-choice recognition test. Test pairs had been previously rated on separate scales for visual similarity and for the ease with which the difference between them could be verbally described. Verbal describability predicted recognition best after both 3- and 10-sec viewing times. At the 10-sec presentation rate, recognition accuracy was unrelated to rated visual similarity, but at the 3-sec rate, errors increased slightly as visual similarity uncreased. Memory for pictures is mediated at least in part by verbal coding, but memory storage itself is probably not exclusively verbal. Visual features of pictures memorized by Ss may be selected on the basis of verbal descriptions of the pictures.


The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com

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© 1972 Psychonomic Society Publications

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