Unitization during category learning

Goldstone, R. L. (2000). Unitization during Category Learning.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 26, 86-112

Five experiments explored the question of whether new perceptual units can be developed if they are diagnostic for a category learning task, and if so, what are the constraints on this unitization process? During category learning, participants were required to attend either a single component or a conjunction of five components in order to correctly categorize an object. In Experiments 1-4, some evidence for unitization was found in that the conjunctive task becomes much easier with practice, and this improvement was not found for the single component task, or for conjunctive tasks where the components cannot be unitized. Influences of component order (Experiment 1), component contiguity (Experiment 2), component proximity (Experiment 3), and number of components (Experiment 4) on practice effects were found. Using a Fourier Transformation method for deconvolving response times (Experiment 5), prolonged practice effects yielded responses that were faster than expected by analytic model that integrate evidence from independently perceived components.

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