Does incidental training increase the prevalence of overall similarity classification? A re-examination of kemler Nelson (1984)

Angus InksterUniversity of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom
Fraser MiltonUniversity of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom
Andy WillsUniversity of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom

Abstract

Kemler Nelson (1984) reported that incidental training, relative to intentional training, increased the prevalence of overall similarity classification, supporting a non-deliberative account of overall similarity sorting. However, the analysis conducted by Kemler Nelson (1984) does not adequately distinguish between usage of an overall similarity classification strategy and single-attribute strategies. The current study replicates Kemler Nelson's (1984) experiment, seeking to test the original conclusions using a more rigorous analysis. The current study approximates the original experimental procedure, using almost identical stimuli and a longer, modified test phase. Results replicate those found by Kemler Nelson (1984) when the original analysis is applied; however the model-based analysis suggest an overall similarity classification strategy is used rarely and that incidental training increases the prevalence of sub-optimal single-attribute strategies. These results imply that overall similarity classification may be more deliberative than previously thought.

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