Two Operations for "Ratios" and "Differences" of Distances on the Mental Map

Michael H. Birnbaum, Carolyn J. Anderson, Linda G. Hynan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ss judged "ratios of distances" and "differences of distances" between pairs of U.S. cities. Results fit the theory that Ss used two comparison processes as instructed. A ratio scale of distances between cities was constructed from the 2 rank orders. From this scale, an interval scale of the city locations on an east-west continuum was derived. This scale agrees with the subtractive model fit to "ratios" and "differences" of easterliness and westerliness, and it also agrees with multidimensional scaling of judged distances between cities. These findings are consistent with the theory that Ss use subtraction when instructed to judge either "ratios" or "differences," but that they can use both ratio and difference operations when the stimuli (in this case, distances) constitute a ratio scale on the subjective continuum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-796
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Two Operations for "Ratios" and "Differences" of Distances on the Mental Map'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this