Concept learning and feature interpretation

Thomas L. Spalding, Brian H. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Models of categorization often assume that people classify new instances directly on the basis of the presented, observable features. Recent research, however, has suggested that the coherence of a category may depend in part on more abstract features that can link together observable features that might otherwise seem to have little similarity. Thus, category learning may also involve the determination of the appropriate abstract features that underlie a category and link together the observable features. We show in four experiments that observable features of a category member are often interpreted as congruent with abstract features that are suggested by observable features of other highly available category members. Our discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-451
Number of pages13
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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