Categorical perception effects induced by category learning

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1998 May;24(3):732-53. doi: 10.1037//0278-7393.24.3.732.


The authors report a series of studies designed to determine whether effects similar to those observed in the innate categorical perception of color and phonemes are induced during the learning of simple unidimensional categories and more complex multidimensional ones. In Experiment 1 no evidence was found for such effects when stimuli varied on 1 dimension. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated a within-category compression effect but no between category expansion effect for stimuli varying in 2 dimensions. Compression only was also shown in Experiment 4, which used pictures of actual objects. Multidimensional scaling analyses illustrate how within-category compression without expansion was sufficient to produce categorical clustering of items in the similarity space. These analyses also show that learning changed the dimensional structure of similarity space. Results are compared with those from other studies exploring similar phenomena and with neural network simulations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Association Learning
  • Attention*
  • Color Perception*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Phonetics*
  • Probability Learning
  • Size Perception
  • Verbal Behavior