Psychology ETDs


Nancy B. Lee

Publication Date



Leveling has been described as a process of reducing irrelevant detail to a conceptual image in children's visual memory when presented pictorial stimuli. In Experiment 1, a complex stimulus, consisting of nine stimulus items arranged within three spatial positions, was presented to 7-year-old children and adult subjects during a study period of either 30 or 60 seconds in length. In a forced choice recognition task, each of the original nine stimulus items was presented along with three distractors. The distractors varied along a continuum of irrelevant detail addition. Age, amount of study time, sex, position of item, and type of detail error were analyzed. No indication of leveling was found. Children performed much as adult subjects, with detail errors concentrated in distractors of one added detail from the originally presented stimulus. Experiment 2 attempted to evaluate this unequal concentration of errors in one particular distractor type, by an explanation of possible non-interval scaling along the continuum of irrelevant detail addition. It was found that non-interval scaling could not adequately explain the concentration of errors that was found in Experiment 1.

Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Peder J. Johnson

Second Committee Member

John P. Gluck

Third Committee Member

Joseph A. Parsons



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Included in

Psychology Commons