How causal knowledge affects classification: A generative theory of categorization

Bob Rehder, Shinwoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Several theories have been proposed regarding how causal relations among features of objects affect how those objects are classified. The assumptions of these theories were tested in 3 experiments that manipulated the causal knowledge associated with novel categories. There were 3 results. The 1st was a multiple cause effect in which a feature's importance increases with its number of causes. The 2nd was a coherence effect in which good category members are those whose features jointly corroborate the category's causal knowledge. These 2 effects can be accounted for by assuming that good category members are those likely to be generated by a category's causal laws. The 3rd result was a primary cause effect, in which primary causes are more important to category membership. This effect can also be explained by a generative account with an additional assumption: that categories often are perceived to have hidden generative causes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-683
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Keywords

  • Categorization
  • Causal knowledge
  • Causal model theory
  • Causal status hypothesis
  • Classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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