Stimulus selection is a critical part of experimental designs in the cognitive sciences. Quantifying and controlling item similarity using a unified scale provides researchers with the tools to eliminate item-dependent effects and improve reproducibility. Here we present a novel Similar Object and Lure Image Database (SOLID) that includes 201 categories of grayscale objects, with approximately 17 exemplars per set. Unlike existing databases, SOLID offers both a large number of stimuli and a considerable range of similarity levels. A common scale of dissimilarity was obtained by using the spatial-arrangement method (Exps. 1a and 1b) as well as a pairwise rating procedure to standardize the distances (Exp. 2). These dissimilarity distances were then validated in a recognition memory task, showing better performance and decreased response times as dissimilarity increased. These methods were used to produce a large stimulus database (3,498 images) with a wide range of comparable similarities, which will be useful for improving experimental control in fields such as memory, perception, and attention. Enabling this degree of control over similarity is critical for high-level studies of memory and cognition, and combining this strength with the option to use it across many trials will allow research questions to be addressed using neuroimaging techniques.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing