Previous research has suggested that when feature inferences have to be made about an instance whose category membership is uncertain, feature-based inductive reasoning is used to the exclusion of category-based induction. These results contrast with the observation that people can and do use category-based induction when category membership is known. The present experiments examined the conditions that drive feature-based and category-based strategies in induction under category uncertainty. Specifically, 2 experiments investigated whether reliance on feature-based inductive strategies is a product of the lack of coherence in the categories used in previous research or is due to the use of a decision-only induction procedure. Experiment 1 found that feature-based reasoning remained the preferred strategy even when categories with relatively high internal coherence were used. Experiment 2 found a shift toward category-based reasoning when participants were trained to classify category members prior to feature induction. Together, these results suggest that an appropriate conceptual representation must be formed through experience with a category before it is likely to be used as a basis for feature induction.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition|
|Publication status||Published - May 2012|
- category learning
- concept formation
- category coherence