Not All Exceptions Are the Same: Different Memory Demands for Differentiation, Isolation and Odd-ball Exceptions

AbstractThere is an influential body of research arguing that category exceptions have a special status in memory compared to regular category members. However, the memory advantage for category exceptions has typically been demonstrated using one very specific category structure (Differentiation). Here we present a study examining whether the reported memory advantage is specific to this particular structure or whether it can be generalized to other kinds of exceptions (Isolation and Odd-ball). We compare three different types of category exceptions that have varying memory demands due to different levels of feature binding required for accurate categorization. The results suggest that only those exceptions that require binding together multiple features are remembered better than regular, rule-following items. The present work clarifies that the memory advantage for exceptions characterizes certain kinds of exceptions rather than exceptions in general.

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