MM-MDS: A multidimensional scaling database with similarity ratings for 240 object categories from the massive memory picture database

Michael C. Hout, Stephen Goldinger, Kyle J. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Cognitive theories in visual attention and perception, categorization, and memory often critically rely on concepts of similarity among objects, and empirically require measures of ''sameness'' among their stimuli. For instance, a researcher may require similarity estimates among multiple exemplars of a target category in visual search, or targets and lures in recognition memory. Quantifying similarity, however, is challenging when everyday items are the desired stimulus set, particularly when researchers require several different pictures from the same category. In this article, we document a new multidimensional scaling database with similarity ratings for 240 categories, each containing color photographs of 16-17 exemplar objects. We collected similarity ratings using the spatial arrangement method . Reports include: the multidimensional scaling solutions for each category, up to five dimensions, stress and fit measures, coordinate locations for each stimulus, and two new classifications. For each picture, we categorized the item's prototypicality, indexed by its proximity to other items in the space. We also classified pairs of images along a continuum of similarity, by assessing the overall arrangement of each MDS space. These similarity ratings will be useful to any researcher that wishes to control the similarity of experimental stimuli according to an objective quantification of "sameness."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere112644
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 12 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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