Psychological norms for simple three-line graphic shapes.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William A. Kealy, Visiting Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: There is a longstanding tradition in psychological research for norming lists of words that are used in experimental studies. The present study extends this practice to graphic imagery by obtaining norming data on 24 simple abstract graphic shapes composed of three straight-line segments. The attributes obtained in the norming procedure were the shapes' familiarity, describability, associability, availability, and potential for word association. Results from rating data indicate significantly different, yet reliable, responses by participants to the various shape configurations. Multidimensional scaling analysis of shape ratings identified two underlying dimensions of perceived differences: the continuity of a shape's linear direction and the consistency or regularity of its interior angles. By contrast, performance in generating word associations for figures appeared to be linguistically driven, with initial responses related to the similarity of shapes to letters of the alphabet. The norms and the computer program used to collect them can be downloaded from

Additional Information

Behavior Research Methods, 39(4), 1012-1019.
Language: English
Date: 2007
Graphic shapes, Norming

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