Many theories of category learning assume that learning is driven by a need to minimize classification error. When there is no classification error, therefore, learning of individual features should be negligible. The authors tested this hypothesis by conducting three category-learning experiments adapted from an associative learning blocking paradigm. Contrary to an error-driven account of learning, participants learned a wide range of information when they learned about categories, and blocking effects were difficult to obtain. Conversely, when participants learned to predict an outcome in a task with the same formal structure and materials, blocking effects were robust and followed the predictions of error-driven learning. The authors discuss their findings in relation to models of category learning and the usefulness of category knowledge in the environment.
- category learning
- error-driven learning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental Neuroscience