Developmental Differences in the Status of Category Exceptions

AbstractIn this paper we explored how people represent categories that include exceptions by examining contributions that features of regular and exception items make to determining category membership. We examined performance of 4-year-old children and adults and found significant developmental differences. While for 4-year-olds, deterministic features of regular items and exceptions contributed comparably to determining category membership, an asymmetry was found in adults. For adults, deterministic features of regular items contributed more to determining category membership than features of exceptions. The results are discussed in relation to the SUSTAIN clustering model of category learning (Love, Medin, & Gureckis, 2004).

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