Direction of comparison asymmetries in relational judgment: The role of linguistic norms

Neal J. Roese*, Jeffrey W. Sherman, Taekyun Hur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This research documented a linguistic norm account of direction of comparison asymmetry effects in relational judgments (e.g., seeing hyenas as more similar to dogs than dogs are similar to hyenas). The asymmetry effect is magnified by discrepancies in prominence between subject and referent, and has previously been explained using Tversky's (1977) feature-matching model. Given a linguistic norm to place more prominent objects in the referent position, violation of this norm might reduce sentence clarity, which then weakens the magnitude of subsequent relational judgments. This research showed that clarity perceptions predict the magnitude of relational judgments independently of the cognitive manipulation of the features of the compared objects. The pattern of findings suggests that a linguistic norm interpretation may account for variance in relational judgments independently of Tversky's (1977) feature-matching model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-362
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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