Four experiments dealt with the verification of semantic relations. In Experiment I, subjects decided whether an instance was a member of a specified category. For some categories (for example, birds) verification was faster when the target category was a direct superordinate (bird) than a higher level superordinate (animal), while for another category (mammal) this finding reversed. Experiment II obtained ratings of semantic distance that accounted for the previously obtained verification results. Multidimensional scaling of the ratings suggested that semantic distance could be represented as Euclidean distance in a semantic space. Experiments III and IV indicated that semantic distance could predict RTs in another categorization task and choices in an analogies task. These results place constraints on a theory of semantic memory.
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