Role-governed categorization

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Title: Role-governed categorization
Author: Goldwater, Micah Balser
Abstract: Theories of categorization typically assume that categories are represented by some set of features that describe the properties of category members . However this view of category representation is incomplete . This dissertation lays out a framework for category representation , following Markman and Stilwell (2001 ) , that creates a taxonomy of categories based on different components of relational structures . Relational categories are categories of entire relational systems while , role -governed categories , are represented as the roles in these systems . Lastly , thematic -relation categories group entities together that play complementary roles within a system . Four experiments are presented in support of this framework . They contrast thematic -relation categorization with role -governed categorization . Thematic -relation categorization entails categorizing objects together that play different roles within a domain , while role -governed categorization entails categorizing two entities that play the same role across domains . When the two are put in direct conflict , people prefer to form a thematic -relation category because within -domain connections are easier to find than across -domain connections . The purpose of the four experiments is to examine ways to boost the preference for role -governed categorization , thus revealing underlying processes . Here , role -governed categorization is facilitated in two ways . Experiment 1 re -frames the question of category formation as novel word extension . Natural role -governed categories have labels while thematic -relation categories do not . This pattern is reflected in the measured behavior as novel labels are extended across members of role -governed categories more readily than across members of thematic -relation categories . By claiming relational structures are critical to category representation , the framework described in this dissertation predicts that role -governed categorization and analogical reasoning share underlying mechanisms . Experiments 2 -4 examine how making an analogy between the members of role -governed categories facilitates forming such categories . When making an analogy , people align the relational representations of a pair of domains , putting entities into correspondence by role , ignoring featural dissimilarities . When analogical comparison is induced , the rate of role -governed categorization is shown to double as compared to a baseline with no such analogical processes . The thesis concludes by outlining several future lines of research generated by unifying the fields of analogy and concept learning .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2009 -12 -415
Date: 2010-08-23

Citation

Role-governed categorization. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2009 -12 -415 .

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