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Experiment Author: Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
This experiment gives participants a sentence and a picture, then asks them to verify whether the sentence does or does not describe the picture. For instance, they might be given a picture of an asterisk above a plus and the sentence might read "star is not below plus". They would respond "true" to this.
The findings indicated that participants could tell most quickly whether a sentence was true or false if it contained only positives. For instance, they could recognize "star is above plus" faster than "star is not above plus". They also found that "above" was more quickly processed than "below". This suggested that "below" was encoded on some level as "not above".
The experiment consists of eight blocks, each comprised of 16 trials for a total of 128 trials. Each trial is selected randomly within each block until all exemplars have been sampled once, afterwards the random sampling resets for the next block. Each trial presents an asterisk and a plus sign, one on top of the other. A sentence describing the positioning of the symbols is then presented. Users must respond true or false to the sentence with their keyboard, pressing 1 for true and pressing 2 for false.
Clark, H.H., & Chase, W.G. (1972). On the process of comparing sentences against pictures. Cognitive Psychology, 3, 472-517
The present study outlines a theory of how people compare sentences against pictures. This theory was tested in four experiments in which subjects were timed as they judged whether a sentence (e.g., Star isn't above plus) was true or false of a picture. The latencies in these tasks were consistent with the thesis that: (1) sentences are represented in terms of elementary propositions; (2) pictures are encoded in the same interpretive format; (3) these two codes are compared in an algorithmic series of mental operations, each of which contributes additively to the response latency; and (4) sentence encoding, picture encoding, comparing, and responding are four serially ordered stages, and their component latencies are additive. From these results, it was also possible to rule out certain explanations based on visual imagery, conversion (e.g., converting "isn't above" into "is below"), reading time, normative word frequencies , and other factors. Finally, it was shown that this theory is consistent with previous studies on sentence comprehension, sentence verification, concept verification, and other related phenomena.
Works Cited by the Experiment
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Sentence Symbol Comparison Task 
Attention Network Task (ANT) 
Dot Probe Task 
This article applies to: