Where to look first for an explanation of induction with uncertain categories

Oren Griffiths, Brett K Hayes, Ben R Newell, Christopher Papadopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research has examined how people predict unobserved features of an object when its category membership is ambiguous. The debate has focused on whether predictions are based solely on information from the most likely category, or whether information from other possible categories is also used. In the present experiment, we compared these category-based approaches with feature conjunction reasoning, where predictions are based on a comparison among exemplars (rather than categories) that share features with a target object. Reasoning strategies were assessed by examining patterns of feature prediction and by using an eye gaze measure of attention during induction. The main findings were (1) the majority of participants used feature conjunction rather than categorical strategies, (2) people predominantly gazed at the exemplars that were most similar to the target object, and (3) although people gazed most at the most probable category to which an object could belong, they also attended to other plausible category alternatives during induction. These findings question the extent to which category-based reasoning is used for induction when category membership is uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1221
Number of pages10
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • inductive reasoning
  • category-based reasoning
  • uncertain categorisation
  • Uncertain categorization
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Category-based reasoning


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