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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2005 May;31(3):538-53.

Labeling bias and categorical induction: generative aspects of category information.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA. tya@psyc.tamu.edu

Abstract

When a person is characterized categorically with a label (e.g., Linda is a feminist), people tend to think that the attributes associated with that person are central and long lasting (S. Gelman & G. D. Heyman, 1999). This bias, which is related to category-based induction and stereotyping, has been thought to arise because a category label (e.g., feminist) activates the dominant properties associated with the representation of the category. This explanation implies that categorical information influences inferential processes mainly by conjuring up main attributes or instances represented in the category. However, the present experiments reveal that this attribute-based explanation of induction does not provide a complete picture of inferential processes. The results from 3 experiments suggest that category information can affect inferences of attributes that are not directly related to the category, suggesting that categories not only activate likely attributes but also help integrate unlikely or even unrelated attributes.

PMID:
15910136
DOI:
10.1037/0278-7393.31.3.538
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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