Causal-Based Categorization: A Review

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reviews the last decade's work on causal-based classification, the effect of interfeature causal relations on how objects are categorized. Evidence for and against the numerous effects discussed in the literature is evaluated: the causal status effect, the relational centrality effect, the multiple-cause effect, and the coherence effect. Evidence for explicit causal reasoning in classification and the work conducted on children's causal-based classification is also presented. The chapter evaluates the implications these findings have for two models of causal-based classification—the dependency model [Sloman, S. A., Love, B. C., & Ahn, W. (1998). Feature centrality and conceptual coherence. Cognitive Science, 22, 189–228] and the generative model [Rehder, B., & Kim, S. (2006). How causal knowledge affects classification: A generative theory of categorization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32, 659–683]—and discusses methodological issues such as the testing of natural versus novel (artificial) categories and the interpretation of classification tests. Directions for future research are identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPsychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages78
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Publication series

NamePsychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory
ISSN (Print)0079-7421

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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