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Am J Psychol. 2004 Fall;117(3):317-40.

How learning one category influences the learning of another: intercategory generalization based on analogy and specific stimulus information.

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Department of Psychology, University of Louisville, KY 40292, USA.


We investigated the effect of learning one category structure on the learning of a related category structure. Photograph-name combinations, called identifiers, were associated with values of four demographic attributes. Two problems were related by analogous demographic attributes, common identifiers, or both to examine the impact of common identifier, related general characteristics, and the interaction of the two variables in mediating learning transfer from one category structure to another. Problems sharing the same identifier information prompted greater positive transfer than those not sharing the same identifier information. In contrast, analogous defining characteristics in the two problems did not facilitate transfer. We computed correlations between responses to first-problem stimuli and responses to analogous second-problem stimuli for each participant. The analogous characteristics produced a tendency to respond in the same way to corresponding stimuli in the two problems. The results support an alignment between category structures related by analogous defining characteristics, which is facilitated by specific identifier information shared by two category structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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