The Interactions of Category Structure and Supervision in Category Learning: a comparative approach

Hyungwook YimThe Ohio State University
Leyre CastroThe University of Iowa
Edward WassermanThe University of Iowa
Vladimir SloutskyThe Ohio State University

Abstract

The current study investigated the interactions among category structure, supervision, and the ability to selectively attend during category learning. Specifically, we compared pigeons’ with human adults’ category learning using artificial categories to examine the role of selective attention in category learning. Results showed that pigeons benefit more from supervision, and unlike human adults, the benefit is stronger for sparse categories. Moreover, whereas supervision did not affect human adults’ generalization performance, low-supervision resulted in lower generalization for pigeons. The results were discussed in terms of the difference in utilizing the supervisory signal, and the ability to selectively attend to category relevant information.

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