The downside of categories

Gregory L. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


One of the primary uses of categories is to draw inferences about novel objects based on their category membership. In a recent study, Lagnado and Shanks show that people make different inferences about an object depending on whether they first categorize the object at a general or specific level. Indeed, their inference changes even though they have been given no information about the object. This finding reveals limitations of category-based induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-514
Number of pages2
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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