Ideals, central tendency, and frequency of instantiation as determinants of graded structure in categories.

Barsalou, L. W. (1985) Ideals, central tendency, and frequency of instantiation as determinants of graded structure in categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 11(4), pp. 629-654. (doi:10.1037/0278-7393.11.1-4.629) (PMID:2932520)

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Abstract

Two experiments examined 3 possible determinants of graded structure (central tendency, ideals, and frequency of instantiation). Ss were 74 and 54 university students in Exps I and II, respectively. Exp I found that central tendency did not predict graded structure in goal-derived categories, although it did predict graded structure in common taxonomic categories. Ideals and frequency of instantiation predicted graded structure in both category types to sizable and equal extents. A 4th possible determinant—familiarity—did not predict typicality in either common taxonomic or goal-derived categories. Exp II demonstrated that both central tendency and ideals causally determined graded structure and that the determinants of a particular category's graded structure could change with context. It is suggested that ideals may determine a category's graded structure in one context, whereas central tendency may determine a different graded structure in another. It is proposed that graded structures do not reflect invariant structures associated with categories but instead reflect people's dynamic ability to construct concepts.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barsalou, Professor Lawrence
Authors: Barsalou, L. W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0278-7393
ISSN (Online):1939-1285

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