Location memory for dots in polygons versus cities in regions: evaluating the category adjustment model. Academic Article uri icon


  • We conducted 3 experiments to examine the category adjustment model (Huttenlocher, Hedges, & Duncan, 1991) in circumstances in which the category boundaries were irregular schematized polygons made from outlines of maps. For the first time, accuracy was tested when only perceptual and/or existing long-term memory information about identical locations was cued. Participants from Alberta, Canada and California received 1 of 3 conditions: dots-only, in which a dot appeared within the polygon, and after a 4-s dynamic mask the empty polygon appeared and the participant indicated where the dot had been; dots-and-names, in which participants were told that the first polygon represented Alberta/California and that each dot was in the correct location for the city whose name appeared outside the polygon; and names-only, in which there was no first polygon, and participants clicked on the city locations from extant memory alone. Location recall in the dots-only and dots-and-names conditions did not differ from each other and had small but significant directional errors that pointed away from the centroids of the polygons. In contrast, the names-only condition had large and significant directional errors that pointed toward the centroids. Experiments 2 and 3 eliminated the distribution of stimuli and overall screen position as causal factors. The data suggest that in the "classic" category adjustment paradigm, it is difficult to determine a priori when Bayesian cue combination is applicable, making Bayesian analysis less useful as a theoretical approach to location estimation.

published proceedings

  • J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Friedman, A., Montello, D. R., & Burte, H.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Friedman, Alinda||Montello, Daniel R||Burte, Heather

publication date

  • January 2012