The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology vol:65 issue:9 pages:1721-1739
We examine the influence of contrast categories on the internal graded membership structure of everyday concepts using computational models proposed in the artificial category learning tradition. In particular, the generalized context model (Nosofsky, 1986), which assumes that only members of a given category contribute to the typicality of a category member, is contrasted to the similarity-dissimilarity generalized context model (SD-GCM; Stewart & Brown, 2005), which assumes that members of other categories are also influential in determining typicality. The models are compared in a hierarchical Bayesian framework in their account of the typicality gradient of five animal categories and six artefact categories. For each target category, we consider all possible relevant contrast categories. Three separate issue are examined: (a) whether contrast effects can be found, (b) which categories are responsible for these effects, and (c) whether more than one category influences the typicality. Results indicate that the internal category structure is codetermined by dissimilarity towards potential contrast categories. In most cases, only a single contrast category contributed to the typicality. The present findings suggest that contrast effects might be more widespread than has previously been assumed. Further, they stress the importance of characteristics particular of everyday concepts, which require careful consideration when applying computational models of representation of the artificial category learning tradition to everyday concepts.