Asymmetries of comparison

Cynthia M. Aguilar*, Douglas L. Medin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Tversky's (1977) seminal work on directionality in judgments of similarity demonstrated that people may not judge the similarity of A to B to be equal to the similarity of B to A. In a series of studies, we investigated comparison asymmetries. In Experiment 1, our aim was to extend Tversky's findings to a heterogeneous stimulus set, but no reliable asymmetries were observed. Experiment 2 employed a variety of comparison judgments, and, although some of these measures showed asymmetries, we still failed to observe asymmetries in rated similarity. A final attempt to obtain asymmetries used direction as a within-subjects factor, and for the first time, rating asymmetries were observed. Our data reinforce the idea of comparison asymmetries but suggest that similarity rating asymmetries are only observed under quite circumscribed conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-337
Number of pages10
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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