Influences of categorization on perceptual discrimination

Goldstone, R. L. (1994). Influences of categorization on perceptual discrimination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General123, 178-200.

Four experiments investigated the influence of categorization training on perceptual discriminations. Ss were trained according to 1 of 4 different categorization regimes. Subsequent to category learning, Ss performed a Same-Different judgement task. Ss` sensitivities (d`s) for discriminating between items that varied on a category(ir)relevant dimensions were measured. Evidence for acquired distinctiveness (increased perceptual sensitivity for items that are categorized differently) was obtained. One case of acquired equivalence (decreased perceptual sensitivity for items that are categorized together) was found for separable, but not integral, dimensions. Acquired equivalence within a categorization-relevant dimension was never found for either integral or separable dimensions. The relevance of the results for theories of perceptual learning, dimensional attention, categorical perception, and categorization are discussed.

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