Objective magnitude representations may be prone to subjective percepts when judging human beings. An elderly man is clearly “large” in terms of age. But, is he truly perceived as “big” in our minds? We investigated whether “objective” representation of age interacts with subjective stereotypical percepts of aging, using a numeral classification task preceded by prime images containing human figures. First, prime images of children and young adults demonstrated a positive correlation between perceived age and numerical size. Second, negatively and positively valenced prime images were associated with small and big numerical values, respectively. Third, joint effects of age and valence on numerical value perception revealed a linkage between old adults and small numerical values. It seems that magnitude perception is vulnerable to implicit subjective biases and stereotypical judgments dominate objective magnitude representation.
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