Learning in the wild - how labels influence what we learn


Learning concepts and categories in the real world is often accompanied by verbal labels. The existing theoretical accounts of how labels influence what we learn range from facilitation to overshadowing, with changes occurring over development. Studies investigating how labels influence what people learn have typically been confined to a category learning framework, where participants were tasked to learn how to discriminate categories or infer missing category properties. Here, we investigate how the absence or presence of labels, both common and unique, alter how people attend and what they remember in a more general setting. Our results suggest that unique labels may promote visual exploration of objects; whereas, there was no evidence to support the claim that hearing the same label associated with different members of a to-be-learned category directed attention to common features.

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