Adaptation level as a factor in human wavelength generalization

Arthur Tomie, David R. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


According to an adaptation level interpretation, central tendency effects in stimulus generalization should occur within but not across conceptual categories. This interpretation was examined in 2 experiments with a total of 120 female undergraduates. In Exp I, 2 groups of Ss viewed a 505-nm (green) light and were tested for generalization with only shorter (bluer) or only longer (greener) wavelengths. Only the latter groups showed a central tendency shift. Additional groups indicated that a test series that is nominally symmetrical at about 505 nm may be functionally asymmetrical, yielding a central tendency shift toward longer (greener) values. In Exp II, 2 groups of Ss viewed a 495-nm light and were tested with values of 465-505 nm in 5-nm steps. For 1 group, for which E labeled the training stimulus blue, a central tendency shift toward shorter wavelengths was observed. The 2nd group, given a green label, showed no such shift. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1974
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


  • adaptation level, central tendency shift in wavelength generalization, female college students

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