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Instance memorization and category influence: Challenging the evidence for multiple systems in category learning

Johansen, Mark K., Fouquet, Nathalie, Savage, Justin C. D. and Shanks, David R. 2013. Instance memorization and category influence: Challenging the evidence for multiple systems in category learning. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 66 (6) , pp. 1204-1226. 10.1080/17470218.2012.735679

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A class of dual-system theories of categorization assumes a categorization system based on actively formed prototypes in addition to a separate instance memory system. It has been suggested that, because they have used poorly differentiated category structures (such as the influential “5-4” structure), studies supporting the alternative exemplar theory reveal little about the properties of the categorization system. Dual-system theories assume that the instance memory system only influences categorization behaviour via similarity to single isolated instances, without generalization across instances. However, we present the results of two experiments employing the 5-4 structure to argue against this. Experiment 1 contrasted learning in the standard 5-4 structure with learning in an even more poorly differentiated 5-4 structure. In Experiment 2, participants memorized the 5-4 structure based on a five minute simultaneous presentation of all nine category instances. Both experiments revealed category influences as reflected by differences in instance learnability and generalization, at variance with the dual-system prediction. These results have implications for the exemplars versus prototypes debate and the nature of human categorization mechanisms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Category learning, Exemplars, Prototypes, Categorization, Representation
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1747-0218
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 07:11

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