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Title: Representation at different levels in a conceptual hierarchy
Authors: Voorspoels, Wouter ×
Storms, Gerrit
Vanpaemel, Wolf #
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: North-Holland
Series Title: Acta Psychologica vol:138 issue:1 pages:11-18
Abstract: The present study provides evidence that different types of representations exist at different levels in a natural language conceptual hierarchy. We evaluated three computational models of concept representation, an exemplar model, a prototype model and an ideal representation model, on two hierarchical levels in the conceptual domain of clothes. The domain contained 20 subordinate categories (e.g., trousers, stockings and underwear) and an encompassing superordinate category (CLOTHES). The evaluation criterion was the empirical typicality gradient of the concepts. The models were evaluated both in terms of their ability to fit the empirical data and their generalizability through marginal likelihood. We found a clear difference in model dominance at the two hierarchical levels: For concepts at the subordinate level, exemplar representations were supported. At the higher hierarchical level, however, an ideal representation was overwhelmingly preferred over exemplar and prototype representations. This finding contributes to the increasingly dominant view that the human conceptual apparatus adopts both exemplar representations and more abstract representations, contradicting unitary approaches to categorization.
ISSN: 0001-6918
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Laboratory for Experimental Psychology
Quantitative Psychology and Individual Differences
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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