Comparison of similar visual objects in different contexts



The aim of the study was to investigate whether subjective ratings of two objects’ similarity is affected by the context they are presented in. Photographs of human eyes that differed in the level of similarity were used as experimental stimuli. The experiment consisted of three series: the two target objects were presented without context, or in the surrounding of 7 either similar to or different from them in form, size and color objects. In all conditions, the instruction was to rate similarity of two target eyes using a 10 point scale. In addition, participants were asked to produce verbal descriptions of reasons for giving a certain similarity rating. An original verbal data analysis procedure was used to compare tendencies concerning descriptions of similarities and differences of objects. The results showed significant influence of the type of context on the two objects’ similarity-ratings. Similarity ratings produced in the similar objects’ context were significantly less than the values given in the dissimilar objects’ context. The relative proportion of verbalizations of similarity and difference of two target eyes was found to be different in experimental situations.

General Information

Keywords: cognitive comparison, similarity rating, verbalization, verbal comparison

Journal rubric: Psychology of Perception

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Samoylenko E.S., Melkumyan T.A. Comparison of similar visual objects in different contexts. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2011. Vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 42–58. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elena S. Samoylenko, Doctor of Psychology, Chief Researcher, Laboratory of Cognitive Processes and Mathematical Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Tamara A. Melkumyan, Psychologist, Graduate of the State Academic University of Human Sciences, e-mail:



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