Prior knowledge and exemplar frequency

Harlan D. Harris, Gregory Murphy, Robert Rehder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

New concepts can be learned by statistical associations, as well as by relevant existing knowledge. We examined the interaction of these two processes by manipulating exemplar frequency and thematic knowledge and considering their interaction through computational modeling. Exemplar frequency affects category learning, with high-frequency items learned more quickly than low-frequency items, and prior knowledge usually speeds category learning. In two experiments in which both of these factors were manipulated, we found that the effects of frequency are greatly reduced when stimulus features are linked by thematic prior knowledge and that frequency effects on single stimulus features can actually be reversed by knowledge. We account for these results with the knowledge resonance model of category learning (Rehder & Murphy, 2003) and conclude that prior knowledge may change representations so that empirical effects, such as those caused by frequency manipulations, are modulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1335-1350
Number of pages16
JournalMemory & Cognition
Volume36
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2008

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Learning
Prior Knowledge
Category Learning
Thematic
Interaction
Stimulus
Knowledge of Results (Psychology)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Prior knowledge and exemplar frequency. / Harris, Harlan D.; Murphy, Gregory; Rehder, Robert.

In: Memory & Cognition, Vol. 36, No. 7, 10.2008, p. 1335-1350.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harris, Harlan D. ; Murphy, Gregory ; Rehder, Robert. / Prior knowledge and exemplar frequency. In: Memory & Cognition. 2008 ; Vol. 36, No. 7. pp. 1335-1350.
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