Learning nonlinearly separable categories by inference and classification. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous research suggests that learning categories by classifying new instances highlights information that is useful for discriminating between categories. In contrast, learning categories by making predictive inferences focuses learners on an abstract summary of each category (e.g., the prototype). To test this characterization of classification and inference learning further, the authors evaluated the two learning procedures with nonlinearly separable categories. In contrast to previous research involving cohesive, linearly separable categories, the authors found that it is more difficult to learn nonlinearly separable categories by making inferences about features than it is to learn them by classifying instances. This finding reflects that the prototype of a nonlinearly separable category does not provide a good summary of the category members. The results from this study suggest that having a cohesive category structure is more important for inference than it is for classification.

published proceedings

  • J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Yamauchi, T., Love, B. C., & Markman, A. B.

citation count

  • 207

complete list of authors

  • Yamauchi, Takashi||Love, Bradley C||Markman, Arthur B

publication date

  • May 2002