Adaptation of perceptual and semantic features

Rogosky, B. J., & Goldstone, R. L. (2005). Adaptation of perceptual and semantic features. In L. A. Carlson & E. van der Zee (Eds.), Functional features in language and space: Insights from perception, categorization and development. (pp. 257-273). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

This chapter examines the role of feature in theories of concepts, perception, and language. The authors define features as psychological representations of properties in the world that can be processed independently of other properties and that are relevant to a task, such as categorization. They discuss the classic view of features as entities that do not change over time. They argue for an alternative view in which features are created and adapted according to the immediate goals and context of tasks, and over longer time periods in terms of perceptual and conceptual learning and development. The authors also distinguish pairs of dimensions in terms of whether the dimensions can be processed separately (i.e. either dimension can be attended independently of the other) or integrally (i.e. the dimensions cannot be processed independently). They present a study of the classification of linguistic stimuli according to rules based on semantic features (e.g. ferocity and socialness of animals). The results indicate that changes in the integral processing of the dimensions can be induced by tasks that favor the separate processing of one dimenion. The findings support the authors’ claim that, like perceptual features, semantic features can be adapted during learning.

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The transfer of scientific principles using concrete and idealized simulations

Goldstone, R. L., & Son, J. Y. (2005).  The transfer of scientific principles using concrete and idealized simulations.  The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14, 69-110.

Participants in two experiments interacted with computer simulations designed to foster understanding of scientific principles governing complex adaptive systems.  The quality of participants’ transportable understanding was measured by the amount of transfer between two simulations governed by the same principle.  The perceptual concreteness of the elements within the first simulation was manipulated.  The elements either remained concrete throughout the simulation, remained idealized, or switched midway into the simulation from concrete to idealized or vice versa.  Transfer was better when the appearance of the elements switched, consistent with theories predicting more general schemas when the schemas are multiply instantiated.  The best transfer was observed when originally concrete elements became idealized.  These results are interpreted in terms of tradeoffs between grounded, concrete construals of simulations and more abstract, transportable construals.  Progressive idealization (“Concreteness fading”) allows originally grounded and interpretable principles to become less tied to specific contexts and hence more transferable.

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Similarity

Goldstone, R. L, & Son, J. (2005).  Similarity.  In K. Holyoak & R. Morrison (Eds.). Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (pp. 13-36).

Human assessments of similarity are fundamental to cognition because similarities in the world are revealing.  The world is an orderly enough place that similar objects and events tend to behave similarly.  This fact of the world is not just a fortunate coincidence.  It is because objects are similar that they will tend to behave similarly in most respects.  It is because crocodiles and alligators are similar in their external form, internal biology, behavior, diet, and customary environment that one can often successfully generalize from what one knows of one to the other.  As Quine (1969) observed, “Similarity, is fundamental for learning, knowledge and thought, for only our sense of similarity allows us to order things into kinds so that these can function as stimulus meanings.  Reasonable expectation depends on the similarity of circumstances and on our tendency to expect that similar causes will have similar effects (p. 114).”  Similarity thus plays a crucial role in making predictions because similar things usually behave similarly.

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Knowledge of resources and competitors in human foraging

Goldstone, R. L., Ashpole, B. C., & Roberts, M. E., (2005). Knowledge of resources and competitors in human foraging.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12, 81-87.

The allocation of human participants to resources was studied by observing the population dynamics of people interacting in real-time within a common virtual world. Resources were distributed in two spatially separated pools with varying relative reinforcement rates (50-50, 65- 35, or 80-20). We manipulated whether participants could see each other and the distribution of resources. When participants could see each other but not the resources, the richer pool was underutilized. When participants could see the resources but not each other, the richer pool was overutilized. In conjunction with prior experiments that correlated the visibility of agents and resources (Goldstone & Ashpole, in press), these results indicate that participants’ foraging decisions are influenced by both forager and resource information. The results suggest that the presence of a crowd at a resource is a deterring rather than attractive factor. Both fast and slow oscillations in the harvesting rates of the pools across time were revealed by Fourier analyses. The slow waves of crowd migration are most prevalent when the resources are invisible, whereas the fast cycles are most prevalent when the resources are visible and participants are invisible.

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ABSURDIST II: a graph matching algorithm and its application to conceptual system translation

Feng, Y., Goldstone, R. L., & Menkov, V (2004).  ABSURDIST II: A Graph Matching Algorithm and its Application to Conceptual System Translation.  FLAIRS 2004.

ABSURDIST II, an extension to ABSURDIST, is an algorithm using attributed graph matching to find translations between conceptual systems. It uses information about the internal structure of systems by itself, or in combination with external information about concept similarities across systems. It supports systems with multiple types of weighted or unweighted, directed or undirected relations between concepts. The algorithm exploits graph sparsity to improve computational efficiency. We present the results of experiments with a number of conceptual systems, including artificially constructed random graphs with introduced distortions.

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The simultaneous evolution of article and author networks in PNAS

Börner, K, Maru, J. T., & Goldstone, R. L. (2004).  The simultaneous evolution of article and author networks in PNAS.  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 101, 5266-527.

There has been a long history of research into the structure and evolution of mankind’s scientific endeavor. However, recent progress in applying the tools of science to understand science itself has been unprecedented because only recently has there been access to high-volume and high-quality data sets of scientific output (e.g., publications, patents, grants), as well as computers and algorithms capable of handling this enormous stream of data. This paper reviews major work on models that aim to capture and recreate the structure and dynamics of scientific evolution. We then introduce a general process model that simultaneously grows co-author and paper-citation networks. The statistical and dynamic properties of the networks generated by this model are validated against a 20-year data set of articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Systematic deviations from a power law distribution of citations to papers are well fit by a model that incorporates a partitioning of authors and papers into topics, a bias for authors to cite recent papers, and a tendency for authors to cite papers cited by papers that they have read. In this TARL model (for Topics, Aging, and Recursive Linking), the number of topics is linearly related to the clustering coefficient of the simulated paper citation network.

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Believing is seeing

Goldstone, R. L. (2004). Believing is seeing. American Psychological Society Observer17, 23-26.

Human concept learning clearly depends upon perception. Our concept of “gerbil” is built out of perceptual features such as “furry,” “small,” and “four-legged.” However, recent research has found that the dependency works both ways. Perception not only influences, but is influenced by, the concepts that we learn. Our laboratory has been exploring the psychological mechanisms by which concepts and perception mutually influence one another, and building computational models to show that the circle of influences is benign rather than vicious.

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Human foraging behavior in a virtual environment

Goldstone, R. L., & Ashpole, B. C. (2004). Human foraging behavior in a virtual environment. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review11, 508-514.

Our goal in this research is to collect a large volume of time-evolving data from a system composed of human agents vying for resources in a common environment, with the eventual aim of guiding the development of computational models of human resource allocation.  We have developed an experimental platform that allows a large number of human participants to interact in real-time within a common virtual world.  Two resource pools were created with different rates of replenishment.  The participants’ task was to obtain as many resource tokens as possible during an experiment.  In addition to varying the relative replenishment rate for the two resources (50-50, 65-35, 80-20), we manipulated whether agents could see each other and the entire food distribution, or had their vision restricted to food in their own location.  As a collective, the agents would optimally harvest the resources if they distribute themselves proportionally to the distribution of resources.  Empirical violations of global optimality were found. First, there was a systematic underutilization of the more preponderant resource.  For example, agents distributed themselves approximately 75% and 25% to resources pools that had relative replenishment rates of 80% and 20%, respectively.  The expected pay-off per agent was larger for pools with relatively high replenishment rates.  Second, there were oscillations in the harvesting rates of the resources across time, particularly when agents’ vision was restricted.  Perceived underutilization of a resource resulted in an influx of agents to that resource.  This sudden influx, in turn, resulted in a glut of agents, which then led to a trend for agents to depart from the resource region.  This cyclic activity in the collective data was revealed by a Fourier analysis showing prominent power in the range of about 50 seconds per cycle.

Learning to perceive while perceiving to learn

Goldstone, R. L. (2003).  Learning to perceive while perceiving to learn.  in R. Kimchi, M. Behrmann, and C. Olson (Eds.) Perceptual Organization in Vision: Behavioral and Neural Perspectives.  Mahwah, New Jersey.  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (pp. 233-278)

The external world must be filtered through our perceptual systems before it can have an impact upon us.  That is, the world we experience is formed by our perceptual processing.  However, it is not viciously circular to argue that our perceptual systems are reciprocally formed by our experiences.  In fact, it is because our experiences are necessarily based on our perceptual systems that these perceptual systems must be shaped so that our experiences are appropriate and useful for dealing with our world.

In what follows, I will argue that the “building blocks” an observer uses for construing their world depends on the observer’s history, training, and acculturation. These factors, together with psychophysical constraints, mold one’s set of building blocks.  Researchers who have proposed fixed sets of hard-wired primitives are exactly right in one sense — the combinatorics of objects, words, scenes, and scenarios strongly favor componential representations.  However, this does not necessitate that the components be hard-wired.  By developing new components to subserve particular tasks and environments, a newly important discrimination can generate building blocks that are tailored for the discrimination.  Adaptive building blocks are likely to be efficient because they can be optimized for idiosyncratic needs and environments.

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The transfer of abstract principles governing complex adaptive systems

Goldstone, R. L., & Sakamoto, Y. (2003). The Transfer of Abstract Principles Governing Complex Adaptive Systems.  Cognitive Psychology, 46, 414-466.

Four experiments explored participants’ understanding of the abstract principles governing computer simulations of complex adaptive systems.  Experiment 1 revealed better transfer between computer simulations when they were governed by the same abstract principle, even when the simulations’ domains were dissimilar.  Experiments 2 and 3 showed better transfer of abstract principles across simulations that were relatively dissimilar, and that this effect was due to participants who performed relatively poorly on the initial simulation.   In Experiment 4, participants showed better abstract understanding of a simulation when it was depicted with concrete rather than idealized graphical elements.  However, for poor performers, the idealized version of the simulation transferred better to a new simulation governed by the same abstraction.  The results are interpreted in terms of competition between abstract and concrete construals of the simulations.  Individuals prone toward concrete construals tend to overlook abstractions when concrete properties or superficial similarities are salient. 

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Conceptual interrelatedness and caricatures

Goldstone, R. L., Steyvers, M., & Rogosky, B. J. (2003). Conceptual interrelatedness and caricatures.  Memory & Cognition, 31, 169-180.

Concepts are interrelated to the extent that the characterization each concept is influenced by the other concepts, and isolated to the extent that the characterization of one concept is independent of other concepts.  The relative categorization accuracy of the prototype and caricature of a concept can be used as a measure of concept interrelatedness.  The prototype is the central tendency of a concept, whereas a caricature deviates from the concept’s central tendency in the direction opposite to the central tendency of other acquired concepts.  The prototype is predicted to be relatively well categorized when a concept is relatively independent of other concepts, but the caricature is predicted to be relatively well categorized when a concept is highly related to other concepts.  Support for these predictions comes from manipulations of the labels given to simultaneously acquired concepts (Experiment 1) and the order of categories during learning (Experiment 2).

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Conceptual development from origins to asymptotes

Goldstone, R. L., & Johansen, M. K. (2003). Conceptual development from origins to asymptotes.  In D. Rakison & L. Oakes (Eds.) Categories and concepts in early development.  (pp. 403-418).  Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Scientists studying adult concept learning are typically careful to analyze the entire pattern of responses given across all of the trials of an experiment.  Often times, the early trials are the most diagnostic because categorization accuracy quickly reaches an asymptote.  We take some pride in tackling the hard problem of accounting for adaptive processes that account for category learning, unlike many psychophysicists, who simply throw out the first 1000 trials because steady-state performance has not yet been reached.  However, lest we grow too smug, the chapters of this book provide a great service by reminding us that even though we analyze the very first trial of our experiment, we are still studying conceptual change that occurs almost imperceptibly close to the asymptote.  By the time that our 20-year-old subjects come to our laboratories, they have learned the majority of the concepts that they will ever learn and virtually all of their truly foundational concepts.  Relatively brief laboratory training suffices to teach students the rule “Circle Above Square” (Bruner, Goodnow, & Austin, 1956), a particular configuration of 9 dots (Posner & Keele, 1968), or a new fact such as that grebes are birds, but this rapid learning is only possible because it builds upon a longer and more profound process by which concepts such as Above (Quinn, this volume), Bird (Mervis, Pani & Pani, this volume), Animal (Mareschal, this volume; Mandler, this volume), and Animacy (Gelman & Koenig, this volume; Rakison, this volume) are learned.

Those of us who want to develop theories of the learning and representation of adult concepts cannot afford to remain blind to the conceptual development that makes possible adult concept use.  This life-long learning provides us with the fundamental representations that we subsequently combine and tweak.  In assessing the contribution of developmental research on concepts and categories to our general understanding of human concepts, we will ask four questions: what are concepts; what is the relation between perception and concepts; what are the constraints on concept learning; and what are promising future directions for research on concepts?

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Concepts and categories

Goldstone, R. L., & Kersten, A. (2003). Concepts and Categories. In A. F. Healy & R. W. Proctor (Eds.) Comprehensive handbook of psychology, Volume 4: Experimental psychology.  (pp. 591-621).  New York: Wiley.

Issues related to concepts and categorization are nearly ubiquitous in psychology because of peoples natural tendency to perceive a thing AS something.  Zen meditation practices may or may not succeed in allowing a person to grasp the object itself rather than the labels and associations it evokes.  In either case, the difficulty of this pursuit affirms the powerful impulse that we have to interpret our world.  This act of interpretation, an act of seeing something as X rather than simply seeing it (Wittgenstein, 1953), is fundamentally an act of categorization.

The attraction of research on concepts is that an extremely wide variety of cognitive acts can be understood as categorizations.  Identifying the person sitting across from you at the breakfast table involves categorizing something as your spouse.  Diagnosing the cause of someones illness involves a disease categorization.  Interpreting a painting as a Picasso, an artifact as Mayan, a geometry as Non-Euclidean, a fugue as baroque, a conversationalist as charming, a wine as a Bordeaux, and a government as socialist are categorizations at various levels of abstraction.  The typically unspoken assumption of research on concepts is that these cognitive acts have something in common.  That is, there are principles that explain many or all acts of categorization.  This assumption is controversial (see Medin, Lynch, & Solomon, 2000), but is perhaps justified by its potential pay-off.  If there are common principles governing concepts in their diverse manifestations, then discovering these principles would have a tremendous benefit, for we would not only acquire an understanding of how people identify faces, recognize letters, treat diseases, or form categories in a specialized domain.  We would also have a unified understanding of all of these phenomena as examples of a generic process of concept formation.

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Featural processing in face preferences

Halberstadt, J., Goldstone, R. L., & Levine, G. M. (2003). Featural Processing in Face Preferences.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology39, 270-278.

Two experiments examined how practice and time pressure influence holistic processing, defined as the relative importance of feature interactions, in a face preference task.  Participants rated 32 cartoon faces that varied along five dichotomous features (Experiment 1) or 27 realistic morphed faces that varied along three trichotomous dimensions (Experiment 2), under high and low time pressure (operationalized as a short versus long stimulus presentation time), over a series of experimental blocks. In both experiments, the overall importance of facial features, but not of feature interactions, increased over blocks and, in one condition of Experiment 1, under high versus low time pressure.  Analyses of idiosyncratic importance indicated that the feature effects were due to the increasing importance of participants’ idiosyncratically most influential features.  Functional differences between face preferences and face recognition are offered to explain and predict when facial features will be processed independently versus holistically.

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Using relations within conceptual systems to translate across conceptual systems

Goldstone, R. L., & Rogosky, B. J. (2002). Using relations within conceptual systems to translate across conceptual systems, Cognition, 84, 295-320.

We explore one aspect of meaning, the identification of matching concepts across systems (e.g. people, theories, or cultures).  We present a computational algorithm called ABSURDIST (Aligning Between Systems Using Relations Derived Inside Systems for Translation) that uses only within-system similarity relations to find between-system translations.  While illustrating the sufficiency of within-system relations to account for translating between systems, simulations of ABSURDIST also indicate synergistic interactions between intrinsic, within-system information and extrinsic information.

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Here is a brief description and commentary on ABSURDIST:
Dietrich, E. (2003).  An ABSURDIST model vindicates a venerable theory.  Trends in Cognitive Science7, 57-59.

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The role of roles in translating across conceptual systems

Goldstone, R. L., & Rogosky, B. J. (2002). The role of roles in translating across conceptual systems, Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.  Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.  (pp. 369-374).

According to an “external grounding” theory of meaning, a concept’s meaning depends on its connection to the external world.  By a “conceptual web” account, a concept’s meaning depends on its relations to other concepts within the same system.  We explore one aspect of meaning, the identification of matching concepts across systems (e.g. people, theories, or cultures).  We present a computational algorithm called ABSURDIST (Aligning Between Systems Using Relations Derived Inside Systems for Translation) that uses only within-system similarity relations to find between-system translations.  While illustrating the sufficiency of a conceptual web account for translating between systems, simulations of ABSURDIST also indicate powerful synergistic interactions between intrinsic, within-system information and extrinsic information.  Applications of the algorithm to issues in object recognition, shape analysis, automatic translation, human analogy and comparison making, pattern matching, neural network interpretation, and statistical analysis are described.

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Altering object representations through category learning

Goldstone, R. L, Lippa, Y., & Shiffrin, R. M. (2001). Altering object representations through category learning.  Cognition, 78, 27-43.

Previous research has shown that objects that are grouped together in the same category become more similar to each other and that objects that are grouped in different categories become increasingly dissimilar, as measured by similarity ratings and psychophysical discriminations. These findings are consistent with two theories of the influence of concept learning on similarity. By a strategic judgment bias account, the categories associated with objects are explicitly used as cues for determining similarity, and objects that are categorized together are judged to be more similar because similarity is not only a function of the objects themselves, but also the objectsí category labels. By a representational change account, category learning alters the description of the objects themselves, emphasizing properties that are relevant for categorization. A new method for distinguishing between these accounts is introduced which measures the difference between the similarity ratings of categorized objects to a neutral object. The results indicate both strategic biases based on category labels and genuine representational change, with the strategic bias affecting mostly objects belonging to different categories and the representational change affecting mostly objects belonging to the same category.

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The sensitization and differentiation of dimensions during category learning

Goldstone, R. L, & Steyvers, M. (2001). The Sensitization and Differentiation of Dimensions During Category Learning.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130,116-139.

The reported experiments explore two mechanisms by which object descriptions are flexibly adapted to support concept learning: selective attention and dimension differentiation. Arbitrary dimensions were created by blending photographs of faces in different proportions, and mixing these blends together.  Consistent with learned selective attention, positive transfer was found when initial and final categorizations shared either relevant or irrelevant dimensions, and negative transfer was found when previously relevant dimensions became irrelevant. Unexpectedly good transfer was observed when both irrelevant dimensions became relevant and relevant dimensions became irrelevant, and was explained in terms of participants learning to isolate one dimension from another. This account was further supported by experiments indicating that conditions expected to produce positive transfer via dimension differentiation produced better transfer than conditions expected to produce positive transfer via selective attention, but only when stimuli were composed of highly integral and overlapping dimensions. We discuss the relation between dimension differentiation and selective attention, mechanisms that may underlie these processes, and implications for category learning research.

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The acquisition of automatic response biases through stimulus-response mapping and categorization determined by a compatibility task

Lippa, Y., & Goldstone, R. L. (2001).  The Acquisition of Automatic Response Biases through Stimulus-Response Mapping and Categorization Determined by a Compatibility Task.  Memory & Cognition 29, 1051-1060

Experiments explored whether spatially neutral stimuli acquire the ability to automatically elicit spatial responses. In Experiment 1, participants associated line-drawings with either left or right key presses. Subsequently, the pictures were used in a Simon task wherein participants made left and right key presses based on the color of the picture, ignoring its shape. Participants responded more quickly when the key press previously associated with the picture matched, rather than mismatched, the response required by the picture’s color. In Experiment 2, participants learned response categories that grouped spatially ambiguous line-drawings together with pictures of left- and right-pointing arrows and fingers. A subsequent Simon task again yielded compatibility effects, indicating that the spatially ambiguous pictures inherited the response biases of the other objects in their category. Thus, responses directly associated with shapes, and indirectly associated with shapes by category membership, are both automatically triggered even when the responses are irrelevant and inappropriate.

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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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A neural network model of concept-influenced segmentation

Goldstone, R. L. (2000). A neural network model  of concept-influenced segmentation. Proceedings of the Twenty-second Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.  Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (pp. 172-177).

Several models of categorization assume that fixed perceptual representations are combined together to determine categorizations.  This research explores the possibility that categorization experience alters, rather than simply uses, descriptions of objects.  Based on results from human experiments, a  model is presented in which a competitive learning network is first given categorization training, and then is given a subsequent segmentation task, using the same network weights.  Category learning establishes detectors for stimulus parts that are diagnostic, and these detectors, once established, bias the interpretation of subsequent objects to be segmented.

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Interactions between perceptual and conceptual learning

Goldstone, R. L., Steyvers, M., Spencer-Smith, J., & Kersten, A. (2000). Interactions between perceptual and conceptual learning. in E. Diettrich & A. B.  Markman (eds.)Cognitive Dynamics: Conceptual Change in Humans and Machines.  Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.  (pp. 191-228).

Confusions arise when ‘stable’ is equated with ‘foundational.’ Spurred on by the image of a house`s foundation, it is tempting to think that something provides effective support to the extent that it is rigid and stable. We will argue that when considering the role of perception in grounding our concepts, exactly the opposite is true. Our perceptual system supports our ability to acquire new concepts by being flexibly tuned to these concepts. Whereas the concepts that we learn are certainly influenced by our perceptual representations, we will argue that these perceptual representations are also influenced by the learned concepts. In keeping with one of the central themes of this book, behavioral adaptability is completely consistent with representationalism. In fact, the most straightforward account of our experimental results is that concept learning can produce changes in perceptual representations, the ‘vocabulary’ of perceptual features, that are used by subsequent tasks.

This chapter reviews theoretical and empirical evidence that perceptual vocabularies used to describe visual objects are flexibly adapted to the demands of their user. We will extend arguments made elsewhere for adaptive perceptual representations (Goldstone, Schyns, & Medin, in press; Schyns, Goldstone, & Thibaut, in press), and discuss research from our laboratory illustrating specific interactions between perceptual and conceptual learning. We will describe computer simulations that provide accounts of these interactions using neural network models. These models have detectors that become increasingly tuned to the set of perceptual features that support concept learning. The bulk of the chapter will be organized around mechanisms of human perceptual learning, and computer simulations of these mechanisms.

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Similarity

Goldstone, R. L. (1999). Similarityin R.A. Wilson & F. C. Keil (eds.) MIT encylopedia of the cognitive sciences.(pp. 763-765).Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

An ability to assess similarity lies close to the core of cognition. In the time-honored tradition of legitimizing fields of psychology by citing William James, `This sense of Sameness is the very keel and backbone of our thinking` (James, 1890/1950; p. 459). Similarity plays an indispensable foundational role in theories of cognition. People`s success in problem solving depends on the similarity of previously solved problems to current problems. Categorization depends on the similarity of objects to be categorized to category members. Memory retrieval depends on the similarity of retrieval cues to stored memories. Inductive reasoning is based on the principle that if an event is similar to a previous event, then similar outcomes are predicted. An understanding of these cognitive processes requires that we understand how humans assess similarity. Four major psychological models of similarity are: geometric, featural, alignment-based, and transformational.

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Perceptual Learning

Goldstone, R. L. (1998). Perceptual Learning.  Annual Review of Psychology49, 585-612.

Perceptual learning involves relatively long-lasting changes to an organism`s perceptual system that improve its ability to respond to its environment. Four mechanisms of perceptual learning are discussed: attention weighting, imprinting, differentiation, and unitization. By attention weighting, perception becomes adapted to tasks and environments by increasing the attention paid to important dimensions and features. By imprinting, receptors are developed that are specialized for stimuli or parts of a stimuli. By differentiation, stimuli that were once indistinguishable become psychologically separated. By unitization, tasks that originally required detection of several parts come to be accomplished by detecting a single constructed unit representing a complex configuration. Research from cognitive psychology, psychophysics, neuroscience, expert/novice differences, development, computer science, and cross-cultural differences is described that relates to these mechanisms. The locus, limits, and applications of perceptual learning are also discussed.

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Hanging Together: A Connectionist Model of Similarity

Goldstone, R. L. (1998). Hanging Together: A connectionist model of similarity. In J. Grainger & A. M. Jacobs (Eds.)  Localist Connectionist Approaches to Human Cognition.  (pp. 283 – 325).  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Human judgments of similarity have traditionally been modelled by measuring the distance between the compared items in a psychological space, or the overlap between the items` featural representations. An alternative approach, inspired jointly by work in analogical reasoning (D. Gentner, 1983; K. T. Holyoak & P. Thagard, 1989) and interactive activation models of perception (J. L. McClelland & D. E. Rumelhart, 1981), views the process of judging similarity as one of establishing alignments between the parts of compared entities. A localist connectionist model of similarity, SIAM, is described wherein units represent correspondences between scene parts, and these units mutually and concurrently influence each other according to their compatability. The model is primarily applied to similarity rating tasks, but is also applied to other indirect measures of similarity, to judgments of alignment between scene parts, to impressions of comparison difficulty, and to patterns of perceptual sensitivity for matching and mismatching features.

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Reuniting perception and conception.

Goldstone, R. L., & Barsalou, L. (1998). Reuniting perception and conception. Cognition65, 231-262.

(reprinted as: Goldstone, R. L., & Barsalou, L. (1998).  Reuniting perception and conception.  In S. A. Sloman and L. J. Rips (Eds.) Similarity and symbols in human thinking.  (pp. 145-176).  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press)

Work in philosophy and psychology has argued for a dissociation between perceptually-based similarity and higher-level rules in conceptual thought. Although such a dissociation may be justified at times, our goal is to illustrate ways in which conceptual processing is grounded in perception, both for perceptual similarity and abstract rules. We discuss the advantages, power, and influences of perceptually-based representations. First, many of the properties associated with amodal symbol systems (e.g. productivity and generativity) can be achieved with perceptually-based systems as well. Second, relatively raw perceptual representations are powerful because they can implicitly represent properties in an analog fashion. Third, perception naturally provides impressions of overall similarity, exactly the type of similarity useful for establishing many common categories. Fourth, perceptual similarity is not static but becomes tuned over time to conceptual demands. Fifth, the original motivation or basis for sophisticated cognition is often less sophisticated perceptual similarity. Sixth, perceptual simulation occurs even in conceptual tasks that have no explicit perceptual demands. Parallels between perceptual and conceptual processes suggest that many mechanisms typically associated with abstract thought are also present in perception, and that perceptual processes provide useful mechanisms that may be coopted by abstract thought.

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Two Competing Attentional Mechanisms in Category Learning.

Kersten, A. W., Goldstone, R. L., & Schaffert, A.(1998). Two Competing Attentional Mechanisms in Category Learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition24, 1437-1458.

This research provides evidence for two competing attentional mechanisms. Attentional persistence directs attention to attributes previously found to be predictive, whereas contrast directs attention to stimuli that have not already been associated with a category. Three experiments provide evidence for these mechanisms. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed increased attention to an attribute following training in which that attribute was relevant, providing evidence for persistence. These experiments also revealed increased attention to an attribute following training in which another, more salient attribute was relevant, providing evidence for contrast. Experiment 3 used a subtractive method to determine the contributions of persistence and contrast to changes in attention to an attribute. The results suggest that persistence operates primarily at the level of dimensions, whereas contrast operates at the level of dimension values.

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Development of features in object concepts.

Schyns, P. G., Goldstone, R. L., & Thibaut, J-P (1998). Development of features in object concepts.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences21, 1-54.

According to an influential approach to cognition, our perceptual systems provide us with a repertoire of fixed features as input to higher-level cognitive processes. We present a theory of category learning and representation in which features, instead of being components of a fixed repertoire, are created under the influence of higher-level cognitive processes. When new categories need to be learned, fixed features face one of two problems: (1) High-level features that are directly useful for categorization may not be flexible enough to represent all relevant objects. (2) Low-level features consisting of unstructured fragments (such as pixels) may not capture the regularities required for successful categorization. We report evidence that feature creation occurs in category learning and we describe the conditions that promote it. Feature creation can adapt flexibly to changing environmental demands and may be the origin of fixed feature repertoires. Implications for object categorization, conceptual development, chunking, constructive induction and formal models of dimensionality reduction are discussed.

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Similarity in Context

Goldstone, R. L., Medin, D. L., & Halberstadt, J. (1997) Similarity in Context.. Memory & Cognition, 25, 237-255

Similarity comparisons are highly sensitive to judgment context. Three experiments explore context effects that occur within a single comparison rather than across several trials. Experiment 1 shows reliable intransitivities in which a target is judged to be more similar to stimulus A than to stimulus B, more similar to B than to stimulus C, and more similar to C than to A. Experiment 2 explores the locus of Tversky`s (1977) diagnosticity effect in which the relative similarity of two alternatives to a target is influenced by a third alternative. Experiment 3 demonstrates reliable, though occasional, violations of an assumption of monotonicity. The observed violations of common assumptions to many models of similarity can be accomodated in terms of dynamic property weighting processes based on specific forms of diagnosticity, and contrast sets that are generated when a comparison is presented.

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Learning to bridge between perception and cognition.

Goldstone, R. L., Schyns, P. G., & Medin, D. L. (1997). Learning to bridge between perception and cognition.  in R. L. Goldstone, P. G. Schyns, & D. L. Medin (Eds.)  Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Perceptual Learning, Vol. 36.  (pp. 1-14).  San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

In building models of cognition, it is customary to commence construction on the foundations laid by perception. Perception is presumed to provide us with an initial source of information that is operated upon by subsequent cognitive processes. And, as with the foundation of a house, a premium is placed on stability and solidity. Stable edifices require stable support structures. By this view, our cognitive processes are well behaved to the degree that they can depend upon the stable structures established by our perceptual system.

Considered collectively, the contributions to this volume suggest an alternative metaphor for understanding the relation between perception and cognition. The architectural equivalent of perception may be a bridge rather than a foundation. The purpose of a bridge is to provide support, but they do so by adapting to the supported vehicles. Bridges, by design, sway under the weight of heavy vehicles, built on the principle that it is better to bend than break. Bridges built with rigid materials are often less resilient than their more flexible counterparts. Similarly, the chapters collected here raise the possibility that perception supports cognition by flexibly adapting to the requirements imposed by cognitive tasks. Perception may not be stable, but its departures from stability may facilitate rather than hamper its ability to support cognition. Cognitive processes involved in categorization, comparison, object recognition, and language may shift perception, but perception becomes better tuned to these tasks as a result.

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The dynamics of similarity.

Spencer-Smith, J., & Goldstone, R. L. (1997).  The dynamics of similarity.  Bulletin of the Japanese Cognitive Science Society4, 38-56.

(Translated into Japanese as: Spencer-Smith, J., & Goldstone, R. L. (2001).  The dynamics of similarity.  in A. Ohnishi and H. Suzuki (Eds.) Ruii kara mita kokoro (Similarity-based approach to mind).  Tokyo, Japan: Kyoritsu Shuppan.)

Similarity depends on representations of stimuli that are constructed and changed during comparison-making. Specific features may be selectively weighted during comparison, and the features used in a comparison may themselves be a product of the comparison process. Traditional models of similarity and analogy rely on representations that are assumed to exist prior to comparison and are inflexible. Evidence from previous research indicates that weighting of features in similarity judgments may vary dynamically during processing (Goldstone, 1994; Goldstone & Medin, 1994). SIAM (Goldstone, 1994), a model providing an account of dynamic weighting, is discussed. Additional studies indicate that features may be developed or introduced during similarity judgments. A methodology for examining process-oriented models that may account for flexible representations is proposed.

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Isolated and Interrelated Concepts.

Goldstone, R. L. (1996). Isolated and Interrelated Concepts. Memory & Cognition24, 608-628

A continuum between purely isolated and purely interrelated concepts is described. A concept is interrelated to the extent that it is influenced by other concepts. Methods for manipulating and identiying a concept`s degree of interrelatedness are introduced. Relatively isolated concepts are empirically identified by a relatively large use of nondiagnostic features, and by better categorization performance for a concept`s prototype than for a caricature of the concept. Relatively interrelated concepts are identified by minimal use of nondiagnostic features, and by better categorization performance for a caricature than a prototype. A concept is likely to be relatively isolated when: subjects are instructed to create images for their concepts rather than find discriminating features, concepts are given unrelated labels, and the categories that are displayed alternate rarely between trials. The entire set of manipulations and measurements supports a graded distinction between isolated and interrelated concepts. The distinction is applied to current models of category learning, and a connectionist framework for interpreting the empirical results is presented.

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Alignment-based nonmonotonicities in similarity.

Goldstone, R. L. (1996). Alignment-based nonmonotonicities in similarity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition22, 988-1001.

According to the assumption of monotonicity in similarity judgments, adding a shared feature in common to two items should increase or leave unchanged, but should never decrease, their similarity. Violations of monotonicity are not predicted by feature- or dimension-based models, but can be accommodated by alignment-based models. According to alignment-based models, when structured displays are compared, the parts of one compared display must be aligned, or placed in correspondence with the parts of the other display. In two experiments, evidence for nonmonotonicities is obtained that is generally, although not entirely, consistent with the alignment-based model SIAM (Similarity as Interactive Activation and Mapping; Goldstone, 1994). The primary assumption of the model is that the calculation of similarity involves an interactive activation process whereby correspondences between the parts of compared displays mutually and concurrently influence each other. As SIAM predicts, the occurrence of nonmonotonicities depends on the perceptual similarity of features and the duration of presented comparisons.

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Categorical perception of novel dimensions

Goldstone, R. L., Steyvers, M., Larimer, K. (1996). Categorical perception of novel dimensions. Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp 243-248). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Categorical perception is a phenomenon in which people are better able to distinguish between stimuli along a physical continuum when the stimuli come from different categories than when they come from the same category. In a laboratory experiment with human subjects, we find evidence for categorical perception along a novel dimension that is created by interpolating (i.e. morphing) between two randomly selected bezier curves. A neural network qualitatively models the empirical results with the following assumptions: 1) hidden ÒdetectorÓ unit become specialized for particular stimulus regions with a topologically structured competitive learning algorithm, 2) simultaneously, associations between detectors and category units are learned, and 3) feedback from the category units to the detectors causes the detectors to become concentrated near category boundaries. The particular feedback used, implemented in an “S.O.S. network,” operates by increasing the learning rate to detectors that are neighbors to a detector that produces an improper categorization.

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Dissociations in the similarity and categorisation of emotions.

Kroska, A., & Goldstone, R. L. (1996). Dissociations in the similarity and categorisation of emotions. Cognition and Emotion,10, 27-45.

Most studies of the categorization of emotions tests the prototype model against the classical model, concluding that the prototype model offers the better explanation. Prototype models, as with all similarity-based models, posit that categorization depends on the similarity between the instance to be categorized and the category representation. However, we find that emotion similarity judgments and categorization judgments sometimes diverge. Specifically, information about changes in a person`s status and/or potency is weighted more heavily in categorization decisions than it is in similarity decisions. We argue that a knowledge-based model, rather than a similarity-based model, offers the best account of emotion categorization when information about status and potency changes is available.

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Reasoning and the weighting of attributes in attitude judgments

Levine, G. M., Halberstadt, J. B., & Goldstone, R. L. (1996). Reasoning and the weighting of attributes in attitude judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 230-240.

The experiments examined processes by which analyzing reasons may influence attitude judgments. Participants made multiple liking judgments on sets of stimuli that varied along six a priori dimensions. In Study 1, the stimulus set consisted of 64 cartoon faces with six binary-valued attributes (e.g. a straight versus crooked nose). In Study 2, the stimuli were 60 digitized photographs from a college yearbook that varied along six dimensions uncovered through multi-dimensional scaling. In each experiment, half of the participants were instructed to think about the reasons why they liked each face before making their liking rating. Participants` multiple liking ratings were then regressed on the dimension values to determine how they weighted each dimension in their liking judgments. Results support a process whereby reasoning leads to increased variability and inconsistency in the weighting of stimulus information. Results are discussed with respect to Wilson`s model of the disruptive effects of reasoning on attitude judgments (e.g. Wilson, Dunn, Kraft, & Lisle, 1989).

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Effects of categorization on color perception.

Goldstone, R. L. (1995). Effects of categorization on color perception. Psychological Science, 6, 298-30

Subjects were shown simple objects and were asked to reproduce the colors of the objects. Even though the objects remained on the screen while the subjects reproduced the colors and the objects` shapes were irrelevant to the subjects` task, subjects` color perceptions were influenced by the shape category of an object. For example, objects that belonged to categories with redder objects were judged to be more red than identically colored objects belonging to another category. Further experiments showed thatX the object categories that subjects use, rather than being fixed, depend on the objects to which subjects are exposed.

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Mainstream and avant-garde similarity

Goldstone, R. L. (1995). Mainstream and avant-garde similarity. Psychologica Belgica35, 145-165.

In the first part of this article, empirical evidence is reviewed that suggests a substantial amount of flexibility and context-sensitivity in peopleUs judgments of similarity. Four examples of flexible similarity from our laboratory are considered in detail. In the second part of the article, evidence for relatively constrained, invariant similarity assessments is considered. In the final section, a resolution to these apparently contradictory views on similarity is proposed. Assessments of similarity are used to make inferences from one entity to another. In some situations, flexible similarity is needed to tailor inferences to oneUs knowledge of the entities and their relations. In other situations, particularly those in which specific knowledge is missing or unavailable, a relatively constant similarity is needed to establish generally permissible inferences. Thus, the flexibility and stability of similarity may reflect its different cognitive uses.

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The predicates of similarity

Medin, D. L., & Goldstone, R. L. (1995). The predicates of similarity. In C. Cacciari (Ed.), Similarity in Language, Thought, and Perception. (pp. 83-110). Brussels: BREPOL.

Comparison and choice: Relations between similarity processes and decision processes

Medin, D. L., Goldstone, R. L., & Markman, A. (1995). Comparison and choice: Relations between similarity processes and decision processes. Psychonomics Bulletin and Review2, 1-19.

Research and theory in decision making and in similarity judgment have developed along parallel paths. We review and analyze phenomena in both domains that suggest that similarity processing and decision making share important correspondences. The parallels are explored at the level of empirical generalizations and underlying processing principles. Important component processes that are shared by similarity judgments and decision making include generation of alternatives, recruitment of reference points, dynamic weighting of aspects, creation of new descriptors, development of correspondences between items, and justification of judgement.

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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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The role of similarity in categorization: Providing a groundwork

Goldstone, R. L. (1994). The role of similarity in categorization: Providing a groundwork. Cognition52, 125-157.

The relation between similarity and categorization has recently come under scrutiny from several sectors. The issue provides an important inroad to questions about the contributions of high-level thought and lower-level perception in the development of people`s concepts. Many psychological models base categorization on similarity, assuming that thing belong in the same category because of their similarity. Empirical and in-principle arguments have recently raied objections to this connection, on the grounds that similarity is too unconstrained to provide an explanation of categorization, and similarity is not sufficiently sophisticated to ground most categories. Although these objections have merit, a reassesment of evidence indicates that similarity can be sufficiently constrained and sophisticated to provide at least a partial account of many categories. Principles are discussed for incorporating similarity into theories of category formation.

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Similarity, interactive activation, and mapping

Goldstone, R. L. (1994). Similarity, Interactive Activation, and Mapping. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition20, 3- 28.

The question of “what makes things seem similar?” is important both for the pivotal role of similarity in theories of cognition and for an intrinsic interest in how people make comparisons. Similarity frequently involves more than listing the features of the things to be compared and comparing the lists for overlap. Often, the parts of one thing must be aligned or placed in correspondence with the parts of the other. The quantitative model with the best overall fit to human data assumes an interactive activation process whereby correspondences between the parts of compared things mutually and concurrently influence each other. An essential aspect of this model is that matching and mismatching features influence similarity more if they belong to parts that are placed in correspondence. In turn, parts are placed in correspondence if they have many features in common and if they are consistent with other developing correspondences.

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An efficient method for obtaining similarity data

Goldstone, R. L. (1994). An efficient method for obtaining similarity data. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers26, 381-386.

Measurements of similarity have typically been obtained through the use of rating, sorting, and perceptual confusion tasks. In the present paper, a new method of measuring similarity is described, in which subjects rearrange items so that their proximity on a computer screen is proportional to their similarity. This method provides very efficient data collection. If a display has nobjects, then, after subjects have rearranged the objects (requiring slightly more than n movements), n(n-1)/2 pairwise similarityes can be recorded. As long as the constraints imposed by two-diminsional space are not too different from those intrinsic to psychological similarity, the technique apears to offer an efficient, user-friendly, and intuitive process for measuring psychological similarity.

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Categorization

Goldstone, R. L. (1994). Categorization. Science265, 552. [review of Estes` Classification and Cognition]

The time course of comparison

Goldstone, R. L., & Medin, D. L. (1994). The time course of comparison. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition20, 29-50.

Similarity as interactive activation and mapping (SIAM), a model of the dynamic course of similarity comparisons, is presented. According to SIAM, when structured scenes are compared, the parts of one scene must be aligned, or placed in correspondence, with the parts from the other scene. Emerging correspondences influence each other in a manner such that, with sufficient time, the strongest correspondences are those that are globally consistent with other correspondences. Relative to globally inconsistent feature matches, globally consistent feature matches influence similarity more when greater amounts of time are given for a comparison. A common underlying process model of scene alignment accounts for commonalities between different task conditions. Differences between task conditions are accounted for by principled parametric variation within the model.

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Interactive activation, similarity, and mapping: An overview. in K. Holyoak and J. Barnden (Eds.)

Goldstone, R.L., & Medin, D.L. (1994). Interactive activation, similarity, and mapping: An overview. in K. Holyoak and J. Barnden (Eds.) Advances in Connectionist and Neural Computation Theory, Vol. 2: Analogical Connections. (pp. 321-362). Ablex : New Jersey.

The organization of this chapter is as follows. First, we review the role of mapping and global consistency in both low-level visual perception and abstract analogy and then suggest that mapping and consistency also apply to similarity assessment. Next, we review current models of similarity and note that they have little to say about processes by which corresponding properties are aligned. We then describe some experiments on alignment processes associated with comparisons. We account for these results with an interactive activation model of alignment and contrast this model with a number of alternative.s Finally, we asses the role of mapping or alignment in comparisons more generally and offer some conclusions.

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Learning new features of representation.

Goldstone, R. L., & Schyns, P. (1994). Learning new features of representation. Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 974-978). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

One productive and influential approach to cognition maintains that categorization, object recognition, and higher-level cognitive processes operate on the output of lower-level perceptual processing.That is, our perceptual systems provide us with a set of fixed features. These features are the inputs to higher-level cognitive processes.

Recently, researchers in psychology, computer science, and philosophy have questioned this unidirectional approach, arguing that in many situations, the high-level cognitive process being executed has an influence on the lower-level features that are created. For example, in addition to categorization being based on featural descriptions of objects, it might also be the case that the categorization process partially creates the featural decriptions that are used. Rather than viewing the “vocabulary” of primitives to be fixed by low-level processes, this view maintains that the vocabulary is dependent on the higher-level process that uses the vocabulary. This symposium will investigate several issues related to bidirectional interactions between high-level and low-level cognitive processes.

  • Medin, Douglas L. The Pervasiveness of Constructive Processes
  • Thibaut, Jean-Pierre. Role of Variation and Knowledge on Stimuli Segmentation: Developmental Aspects
  • Mozer, Michael. Computational Approaches to Functional Feature Learning
  • French, Robert. Representation-building in Analogical Reasoning
  • Schyns, Philippe G. A Functional Approach to Feature Learning

Letter perception: Toward a conceptual approach

McGraw, G., Rehling, J., & Goldstone, R. L. (1994). Letter perception: Toward a conceptual approach. Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 613-618). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

We present the results of a simple experiment in lower-case letter recognition. Unlike most psychology studies of letter recognition, we include in our data set letters at the extremes of their categories and investigate the recognition of letters of multiple typefaces. We are interested in the relationship between the recognition of normal letters and the recognition of non-standard letters. Results provide empirical evidence for top-down conceptual constrains on letter perception in the form of roles and relations between perceptually-based structural subcomponents. A process model based on the hypothesis developed below is currently being implemented.

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Categorization and the parsing of objects

Pevtzow, R., & Goldstone, R. L. (1994). Categorization and the parsing of objects. Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 717-722). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Several models of categorization suggest that fixed inputs (features) are combined together to create categorization rules. It is also possible that categorization influences what features are perceived and used. This experiment explored the possibility that categorization training influences how an object is decomposed into parts. In the first part of this experiment, subjects learned to categorize objects based on particular sets of line segments. Following categorization training, subjects were tested in a whole-part decomposition task, making speeded judgements of “does whole X contain probe Y.” All diagnostic and nondiagnostic category parts were used as parts within the whole objects, and as probes. Categorization training in the first part of the experiment affected performance on the second task. In particular, subjects were faster to respond when the whole object contained a part that was diagnostic for categorization than when it contained a nondiagnostic part. When the probe was a diagnostic category part subjects were faster to respond that it was present than absent, and when the probe was a nondiagnostic part, subjects were faster to respond that it was absent than that it was present. These results are discussed in terms of perceptual sensitivity, response bias, and the modulating influence of experience.

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Feature distribution and biased estimation of visual displays

Goldstone, R. L. (1993). Feature distribution and biased estimation of visual displays. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 19, 564-579.

Perceptual equivalents of confirmation biases and framing effects are observed in subjects` estimates of feature numerosity. Subjects are asked to estimate the percentage of display items that have a particular feature. Features either are randomly distributed or are spatially clustered such that features of the same type tend to be close. Subjects systematically overestimate the prevalence of features in clustered displays. The pattern of results is best explained by a regional salience bias: Features tend to be more salient if they belong to regions that have a high concentration of instruction-mentioned features. The regional salience bias is contrasted with a feature salience bias: Features tend to be more salient if they are mentioned in the instructions. The relations among the observed perceptual bias and traditional confirmation biases, numeric estimation, and attention are discussed.

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Evidence for interrelated and isolated concepts from prototype and caricature classifications

Goldstone, R. L. (1993). Evidence for interrelated and isolated concepts from prototype and caricature classifications. Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 498-503). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Previous research (Goldstone, 1991) has suggested that concepts differ in their degree of dependency on other concepts. While some concepts` characterizations depend on other simultaneously acquired concepts, other concepts are relatively isolated. The current experiments provide a new measure of a concept`s interrelatedness/isolation. It is assumed that if the prototype of a concept is classified with greater accuracy than a caricature, then the concept is relatively independent of the influences of other concepts. If a caricature is more easily categorized than the prototype, then the concept is relatively dependent on other concepts. If these assumptions are made, then the current experiments provide converging support for a interrelated/isolated distinction. Instructing subjects to form images of the concepts to be acquired, or infrequently alternating categories during presentation, yields relatively isolated concepts. Instructing subjects to try to discriminate between concepts, or frequently alternative categories, yields relatively interrelated concepts.

Dishonesty in self-report of copies made: Moral relativity and the Xerox machine

Goldstone, R. L., & Chin, C. (1993). Dishonesty in self-report of copies made: Moral relativity and the Xerox machine. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 14, 19-32.

This study involved noninvasive observation of copy-machine use at a university institution. Patrons` self-reports of copies were compared to the actual number of copies made. Results indicate a systematic underreporting of actual copies. Intermediate-level dishonesty is common place, whereby patrons underestimate the number of copies made but refrain from profit-maximizing dishonesty even in the absence of an external monitor. The percentage of copies unreported is approximately constant over different copy job sizes. There are strong self-imposed constraints on the level of allowed dishonesty. However, there is an increased tendency for intermediate-level dishonesty as copy job size increases. Nonreporting of copies and correct reporting of copies are both common for small jobs. There is an empirical dissociation between the prevalence and the degree of dishonest behaviors, interpretable in terms of different motivations that arise when financial gains are high and low. The results are also diagnostic in assessing the nature of the tradeoff between the competing motivations to maximize financial profits and to behave honestly.

Respects for similarity

Medin, D.L., Goldstone, R.L., & Gentner, D. (1993). Respects for similarity. Psychological Review, 100, 254-278.

This article reviews the status of similarity as an explanatory construct with a focus on similarity judgements. For similarity to be a useful construct, one must be able to specify the ways or respects in which two things are similar. One solution to this problem is to restruct the notion of similarity to hard-wired perceptual processes. It is argued that this view is too narrow and limiting. Instead, it is proposed that an important source of constraints derives from the similarity comparison process itself. Both new experiments and other evidence are described that support the idea that respects are determined by processes internal to comparisons.

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Locally-to-globally consistent processing in similarity

Goldstone, R. L. (1992). Locally-to-globally consistent processing in similarity. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 337-342). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Concept learning and flexible weighting

Aha, D. W., and Goldstone, R. L. (1992). Concept learning and flexible weighting. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 534-539). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

We previously introduced an exemplar model, named GCM-ISW, that exploits a highly flexible weighting scheme. Or simulations showed that it records faster learning rates and higher asymptotic accuracies on several artificial categorization tasks than models with more limited abilities to warp input spaces. This paper extends our previous work; it describes experimental results that suggest human subjects also invoke such highly flexible schemes. In particular, our model provides significantly better fits than models with less flexibility, and we hypothesize that humans selectively weight attributes depending on an item`s location in the input space.

Feature diagnosticity as a tool for investigating positively and negatively defined concepts

Goldstone, R. L. (1991). Feature diagnosticity as a tool for investigating positively and negatively defined concepts. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 263-268). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Two methods of representing concepts are distinguished and empirically investigated. Negatively defined concepts are defined in terms of other concepts at the same level of abstraction. Positively defined concepts do not make recourse to other concepts at the same level of abstraction for their definition. In two experiments, subjects are biased to represent concepts underlying visual patterns in a positive manner by instructing subjects to form an image of the learned concepts and by initially training subjects on minimally distorted concept instances. Positively defined concepts are characterized by a large use of non-diagnostic features in concept representations, relative to negatively defined concepts. The distinction between positively and negatively defined concepts can account for the dual nature of natural concepts – as directly accessed during the recognition of items, and is intricately interconnected to other concepts.

Relational similarity and the nonindependence of features in similarity judgments

Goldstone, R. L., Medin, D. L., & Gentner, D. (1991). Relational similarity and the nonindependence of features in similarity judgments. Cognitive Psychology, 23, 222-264

Four experiments examined the hypothesis that simple attributional features and relational features operate differently in the determination of similarity judgements. Forced choice similarity judgments (“Is X or Y more similar to Z?”) and similarity rating tasks demonstrate that making the same featural change in two geometric stimuli unequally affects their judged similarity to a third stimulus (the comparison stimulus). More specifically, a featural change that causes stimuli to be more superficially similar and less relationally similar increases judged similarity if it occurs in stimuli that already share many superficial attributes, and decreases similarity if it occurs in stimuli that do not share as many superficial attributes. These results argue against an assumption of feature independence which asserts that the degree to which a feature shared by two objects affects similarity is independent of the other features shared by the objects. The MAX hypothesis is introduced, in which attributional and relational similarities are separately pooled, and shared features affect similarity more if the pool they are in is already relatively large. The results support claims that relations and attributes are psychologically distinct and that formal measures of similarity should not treat all types of matching features equally.

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Concepts

Medin, D. L., Goldstone, R. L. (1991). Concepts. In B. Blackwell (Ed.) Dictionary of Cognitive Psychology (pp 77-83). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Learning attribute relevance in context in instance-based learning algorithms

Aha, D. W., and Goldstone, R. L. (1990). Learning attribute relevance in context in instance-based learning algorithms. Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 141-148). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

There has been an upsurge of interest, in both artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology, in exemplar-based process models of categorization, which preserve specific instances instead of maintaining abstractions derived from them. Recent exemplar-based models provided accurate fits for subject results in a variety of experiments because, in accordance with Shepard`s (1987) observations, they define similarity to degrade exponentially with the distance between instances in psychological space. Although several researchers have shown that an attribute`s relevance in similarity calculations varies according to its context (i.e., the values of the other attributes in the instance and the target concept,” previous exemplar models define attribute relevance to be invariant across all instances. This paper introduces the GCM-ISW model, an extension of Nosofsky`s GCM model that uses context-specific attribute weights for categorization tasks. Since several researchers have reported that humans make context-sensitive classification decision, our model will fit subject data more accurately when attribute relevance is context-sensitive. We also introduce a process component for GCM-ISW and show that its learning rate is significantly faster than the rates of both previous exemplar-based process models when attribute relevance varies among instances. GCM-ISM is both computationally more efficient and more psychologically plausible than previous exemplar-based models.

Safe Takeoffs-Soft Landings

Medin, D. L., Ahn, W-K, Bettger J., Florian, F., Goldstone, R., Lassaline, M., Markman, A., Rubinstein, J., Wisniewski, E. (1990). Safe Takeoffs-Soft Landings. Cognitive Science, 14, 169-178.

Similarity involving attributes and relations: Judgments of similarity and difference are not inverses

Medin, D. L., Goldstone, R. L., & Gentner, D. (1990). Similarity involving attributes and relations: Judgments of similarity and difference are not inverses. Psychological Science, 1, 64-69.

Conventional wisdom and previous research suggest that similarity judgements and difference judgements are inverses of one another. An exception to this rule arises when both relational similarity and attributional similarity are considered. When presented with choices that are relationally or attributionally similar to a standard, human subjects tend to pick the relationally similar choice as more similar to the standard and as more different from the standard. These results not only reinforce the general distinction between attributes and relations but also show that attributes and relations are dynamically distinct in the processes that give rise to similarity and difference judgments.

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Relations Relating Relations

Goldstone, R. L., Gentner, D., & Medin, D. L. (1989). Relations Relating Relations. Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 131-138). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.