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Atten Percept Psychophys. 2017 Aug;79(6):1777-1794. doi: 10.3758/s13414-017-1345-2.

The impact of category structure and training methodology on learning and generalizing within-category representations.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, University of Maine, 5742 Little Hall, Room 301, Orono, ME, 04469-5742, USA. shawn.ell@umit.maine.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA.
3
Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.

Abstract

When interacting with categories, representations focused on within-category relationships are often learned, but the conditions promoting within-category representations and their generalizability are unclear. We report the results of three experiments investigating the impact of category structure and training methodology on the learning and generalization of within-category representations (i.e., correlational structure). Participants were trained on either rule-based or information-integration structures using classification (Is the stimulus a member of Category A or Category B?), concept (e.g., Is the stimulus a member of Category A, Yes or No?), or inference (infer the missing component of the stimulus from a given category) and then tested on either an inference task (Experiments 1 and 2) or a classification task (Experiment 3). For the information-integration structure, within-category representations were consistently learned, could be generalized to novel stimuli, and could be generalized to support inference at test. For the rule-based structure, extended inference training resulted in generalization to novel stimuli (Experiment 2) and inference training resulted in generalization to classification (Experiment 3). These data help to clarify the conditions under which within-category representations can be learned. Moreover, these results make an important contribution in highlighting the impact of category structure and training methodology on the generalization of categorical knowledge.

KEYWORDS:

Category learning; Generalization; Knowledge representation; Training methodology

PMID:
28584954
DOI:
10.3758/s13414-017-1345-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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