Asymmetries in categorization, perceptual discrimination, and visual search for reference and non-reference exemplars

Corneille, O., Goldstone, R. L., Queller, S., & Potter, T. (2006). Asymmetries in categorization, perceptual discrimination, and visual search for reference and non-reference exemplars. Memory & Cognition ,34, 556-567.

Two studies examined the representation, treatment, and attention, devoted to the members of reference (i.e., Club members) and non-reference (i.e., Not-Club members) categories. Consistent with prior work on category interrelatedness (e.g. Goldstone, 1996; Goldstone, Steyvers, & Rogosky, 2003), the findings reveal the existence of asymmetric representations for reference and non-reference categories which, however, decreased as expertise and familiarity with the categories increased (Experiment 1 and Experiment 2). Participants also more readily judged two reference than two non-reference exemplars as being the same (Experiment 1), and were better at detecting reference than non-reference exemplars in a set of novel, category-unspecified,exemplars (Experiment 2). These findings provide evidence for the existence of a feature asymmetry in the representation and treatment of exemplars from reference and non-reference categories. Membership in a reference category acts as a salient feature, thereby increasing the perceived similarity and detection of faces that belong in the reference, compared to nonreference, category.

Download PDF version of this paper