Mental representations of weekdays

Ellis, David and Wiseman, Richard and Jenkins, Rob (2015) Mental representations of weekdays. PLoS ONE, 10 (8). ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Keeping social appointments involves keeping track of what day it is. In practice, mismatches between apparent day and actual day are common. For example, a person might think the current day is Wednesday when in fact it is Thursday. Here we show that such mismatches are highly systematic, and can be traced to specific properties of their mental representations. In Study 1, mismatches between apparent day and actual day occurred more frequently on midweek days (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) than on other days, and were mainly due to intrusions from immediately neighboring days. In Study 2, reaction times to report the current day were fastest on Monday and Friday, and slowest midweek. In Study 3, participants generated fewer semantic associations for “Tuesday”, “Wednesday” and “Thursday” than for other weekday names. Similarly, Google searches found fewer occurrences of midweek days in webpages and books. Analysis of affective norms revealed that participants’ associations were strongly negative for Monday, strongly positive for Friday, and graded over the intervening days. Midweek days are confusable because their mental representations are sparse and similar. Mondays and Fridays are less confusable because their mental representations are rich and distinctive, forming two extremes along a continuum of change.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Additional Information: Evidence on Publisher pdf Copyright: © 2015 Ellis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 75878
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 21 Oct 2015 05:01
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 02:22
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/75878

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