Thirty-something categorization results explained: Selective attention, eyetracking, and models of category learning

Bob Rehder, Aaron B. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

An eyetracking study testing D. L. Medin and M. M. Schaffer's (1978) 5-4 category structure was conducted. Over 30 studies have shown that the exemplar-based generalized context model (GCM) usually provides a better quantitative account of 5-4 learning data as compared with the prototype model. However, J. D. Smith and J. P. Minda (2000) argued that the GCM is a psychologically implausible account of 5-4 learning because it implies suboptimal attention weights. To test this claim, the authors recorded undergraduates' eye movements while the students learned the 5-4 category structure. Eye fixations matched the attention weights estimated by the GCM but not those of the prototype model. This result confirms that the GCM is a realistic model of the processes involved in learning the 5-4 structure and that learners do not always optimize attention, as commonly supposed. The conditions under which learners are likely to optimize attention during category learning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-829
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2005

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Learning
learning
Weights and Measures
Eye Movements
Students
Selective Attention
Category Learning
student
Prototype
Category Structure
myristoylmethionine

Keywords

  • Categorization
  • Exemplar models
  • Eyetracking
  • Prototype models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "An eyetracking study testing D. L. Medin and M. M. Schaffer's (1978) 5-4 category structure was conducted. Over 30 studies have shown that the exemplar-based generalized context model (GCM) usually provides a better quantitative account of 5-4 learning data as compared with the prototype model. However, J. D. Smith and J. P. Minda (2000) argued that the GCM is a psychologically implausible account of 5-4 learning because it implies suboptimal attention weights. To test this claim, the authors recorded undergraduates' eye movements while the students learned the 5-4 category structure. Eye fixations matched the attention weights estimated by the GCM but not those of the prototype model. This result confirms that the GCM is a realistic model of the processes involved in learning the 5-4 structure and that learners do not always optimize attention, as commonly supposed. The conditions under which learners are likely to optimize attention during category learning are discussed.",
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