Australasian Mathematical Psychology Conference 2019

Distinguishing new categories from not-old categories

Shi Xian Liew
Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Joseph L. Austerweil
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Understanding how new categories are generated and the factors influencing their structure is a growing area of interest in cognitive psychology. One issue that has been overlooked, however, is the assumption that generating a distinct novel category is equivalent to generating a category that is not a previously known category. In this study, we provide a series of preliminary work challenging this assumption by distinguishing these two types of generated categories. Extending category generation tasks from past research, we find that generated categories identified as not what is known consistently tend to be larger compared to generated categories that were identified with a specific label. We also replicate a known effect demonstrating that generated categories share similar distributional properties to known categories. Our findings provide the first steps in building a new formal computational account of category generation.