Using political symbols to study semantic inconsistency in scene viewing

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Semantic inconsistency occurs when meanings in different dimensions mismatch (Stroop, 1935) or when a scene contains parts that do not typically co-occur, such as a farm tractor on a football field (Davenport & Potter, 2004). Inconsistency generally leads to slower and less accurate stimulus processing. While semantic consistency is commonly defined as regular co-occurrence, it is not known whether such effects will occur when meanings are more abstract. For example, national identity involves both concrete and abstract semantic relations. Participants (N = 30) viewed artificial scenes with prominent European politicians presented centrally, with matching or non-matching national/EU flags in the periphery, while having their eye movements recorded. We explored the serial allocation of visual attention, particularly with respect to cases when EU flag is presented with pro- or anti-EU politicians, thus engaging more abstract semantic relationships. We discuss the relationships between overt attention allocation, scene consistency, and semantic structures.
Event title2018 International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society
Event typeConference
LocationAmsterdam, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • scene viewing
  • visual attention
  • semantic relationships