Category labels versus feature labels: category labels polarize inferential predictions. Academic Article uri icon


  • What makes category labels different from feature labels in predictive inference? This study suggests that category labels tend to make inductive reasoning polarized and homogeneous. In two experiments, participants were shown two schematic pictures of insects side by side and predicted the value of a hidden feature of one insect on the basis of the other insect. Arbitrary verbal labels were shown above the two pictures, and the meanings of the labels were manipulated in the instructions. In one condition, the labels represented the category membership of the insects, and in the other conditions, the same labels represented attributes of the insects. When the labels represented category membership, participants' responses became substantially polarized and homogeneous, indicating that the mere reference to category membership can modify reasoning processes.

published proceedings

  • Mem Cognit

author list (cited authors)

  • Yamauchi, T., & Yu, N.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Yamauchi, Takashi||Yu, Na-Yung

publication date

  • April 2008