Are some features easier to bind than others? the congruency effect

Liat Goldfarb, Anne Treisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A common perceptual error consists of binding the features of objects in the wrong combinations. Another common finding is that incongruent thoughts or feelings tend to be rejected by the cognitive system. We combined these two notions and found that the incongruence-suppression rule constrains the binding process. We used a task in which participants were asked to bind either congruent or incongruent features together. Whether those features were digits and physical sizes (Experiment 1) or color words and colored fonts (Experiment 2), we observed a new effect that we refer to as the binding congruency effect: When participants were asked to bind incongruent features together, the error rate increased, and participants replaced the incongruent features with congruent features. Experiment 3 demonstrated that the effect depends on the migration of the relevant feature within the same level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-681
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Congruency effect
  • Feature-integration theory
  • Stroop
  • Visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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