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Subtyping as a knowledge preservation strategy in category learning

Bott, Lewis and Murphy, G. L. 2007. Subtyping as a knowledge preservation strategy in category learning. Memory and Cognition 35 (3) , pp. 432-443.

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Abstract

Subtyping occurs when atypical examples are excluded from consideration in judging a category. In three experiments, we investigated whether subtyping can influence category learning. In each experiment, participants learned about a category where most, but not all, of the exemplars corresponded to a theme. The category structure included a subtyping dimension, which had one value for theme-congruent exemplars and another for exception exemplars. On the basis of work by Hayes, Foster, and Gadd (2003) and studies on social stereotyping, we hypothesized that this subtyping dimension would enable the participants to discount the exception exemplars, thereby facilitating category learning. Contrary to expectations, we did not find a subtyping effect with traditional category-learning procedures. By introducing the theme prior to learning, however, we observed increased effects on typicality ratings (Experiment 1) and facilitated learning of the category (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 provided direct evidence that introducing the theme prior to learning enhanced the subtyping effect and provided support for a knowledge-gating explanation of subtyping. We conclude that subtyping effects are strongest on already-learned concepts and that subtyping is unlikely to aid in the learning of new concepts, except in particular circumstances.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: Psychonomic Society
ISSN: 0090-502X
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 09:45
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/12269

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