This study of supervised categorization shows how different kinds of category representations are influenced by the order in which training examples are presented. We used the well-studied 5-4 category structure of Medin and Schaffer (1978), which allows transfer of category learning to new stimuli to be discriminated as a function of rule-based or similarity-based category knowledge. In the rule-based training condition (thought to facilitate the learning of abstract logical rules and hypothesized to produce rule-based classification), items were grouped by subcategories and randomized within each subcategory. In the similarity-based training condition (thought to facilitate associative learning and hypothesized to produce exemplar classification), transitions between items within the same category were determined by their featural similarity and subcategories were ignored. We found that transfer patterns depended on whether the presentation order was similarity-based, or rule-based, with the participants particularly capitalizing on the rule-based order.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Presentation order
- Similarity rule