Making features similar: Comparison processes affect perception

Ran R. Hassin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this paper, the constructive nature of comparison processes (both similarity- and difference-oriented judgments) is examined through their effects on visual perception. Previous research has shown that comparison processes enhance the tendency to interpret ambiguous objects in the light of the unambiguous objects with which they are compared (Medin, Goldstone, & Gentner, 1993). In the present paper, it is argued that comparison processes affect not only the interpretation of objects, but also their perception. In addition, it is argued that the perceptual effects of similarity-oriented comparison processes differ from those of difference-oriented comparison processes. Accordingly, it is demonstrated that when estimation of an object's size is preceded by similarity-oriented comparisons, the Ebbinghaus illusion practically disappears, whereas prior difference-oriented comparisons tend to enhance the illusion.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)728-731
Number of pages4
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


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