Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Memory & Cognition 1974, Vol. 2, No. 2, 372-378. Copyright © 1974 Psychonomic Society. Used by permission.


The influence of two types of linguistic dimensions, word-nonword and consonant pronunciation, on classification speed of trigrams in card-sorting tasks of two levels of complexity was examined. In complex grouping tasks, which required the evaluation of more than one letter to classify each stimulus, sorting times were faster when the linguistic dimension was correlated with, rather than orthogonal to, the response categories. For tasks in which each stimulus could be classified on the basis of a single letter, no effect of the correlated vs orthogonal linguistic dimension was observed, even when performance was degraded by visual noise. These results provide further evidence that, while linguistic properties of visual stimuli may influence classification time in complex tasks, they are of little importance in the performance of tasks only requiring the discrimination of a single visual feature.