Feature integration in natural language concepts

Hampton, J. A., Storms, G., Simmons, C. L. & Heussen, D. (2009). Feature integration in natural language concepts. Memory & Cognition, 37(8), pp. 1150-1163. doi: 10.3758/MC.37.8.1150

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Abstract

Two experiments measured the joint influence of three key sets of semantic features on the frequency with which artifacts (Experiment 1) or plants and creatures (Experiment 2) were categorized in familiar categories. For artifacts, current function outweighed both originally intended function and current appearance. For biological kinds, appearance and behavior, an inner biological function, and appearance and behavior of offspring all had similarly strong effects on categorization. The data were analyzed to determine whether an independent cue model or an interactive model best accounted for how the effects of the three feature sets combined. Feature integration was found to be additive for artifacts but interactive for biological kinds. In keeping with this, membership in contrasting artifact categories tended to be superadditive, indicating overlapping categories, whereas for biological kinds, it was subadditive, indicating conceptual gaps between categories. It is argued that the results underline a key domain difference between artifact and biological concepts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ARTIFACT CONCEPTS, LINEAR SEPARABILITY, CATEGORIZATION, CLASSIFICATION, RECOGNITION, INFORMATION, COHERENCE, BEHAVIOR, OBJECT, KINDS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/1008

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