Frost (1971, 1972) demonstrated that subjects can organize pictures by using either visual features or semantic features of the items presented. For the present study, a set of pictures was constructed that could be organized visually and semantically. The subjects viewed these pictures at either a fast rate (1.5 sec/item) or a slow rate (5 sec/item) of presentation. The subjects expected a recognition task, which would enhance attention to visual detail. Clustering by visual (spatial orientation) and semantic (taxonomic category) categories on an unexpected recall task was measured. At the fast presentation rate, semantic and visual clustering occurred at equal levels, but when presentation rate was decreased (longer presentation times), visual clustering decreased and semantic clustering increased. These results are discussed in terms of the changing representation of picture information as a function of study time.
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