Journal of experimental psychology-learning memory and cognition vol:22 issue:5 pages:1266-1280
Two experiments investigated the dominance effect in relative clause descriptions of concept conjunctions such as peer that are also birds. It was shown that the dominance effect is a general phenomenon, both in terms of combined concepts (with 2/3 of the 50 conjunctions studied showing the effect) and in terms of different tasks (membership ratings, exemplar generation, and category naming). A considerable amount of the effect could be accounted for by an unweighted sum of the membership ratings for the 2 constituents. The part of the dominance effect that could not be explained by an unweighted sum was best predicted by exemplar-based pairwise differentiation between the 2 constituents, meaning that dominance partly depends on an interactional process. The pairwise differentiation was shown to be interpretable as proportional overlap of the extension: The constituent for which it was hardest to think of exemplars outside the conjunction dominated. Finally, 2 theories were discussed that can explain the results.