ERIC Number: ED217407
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jun
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Familiarity in Determining Typicality. Technical Report No. 250.
Malt, Barbara C.; Smith, Edward E.
M.H. Ashcraft found that people tend to know more properties of items they rate as typical of a category than of items they rate as atypical, suggesting that variations in typicality result from variations in familiarity. Three experiments were designed to challenge this suggestion. The first investigated whether familiarity is necessarily correlated with typicality ratings for a large sample of category members that span the typicality range. In this experiment, 20 college students generated properties for category members and 19 other students rated the category members for typicality. Approximately 300 students participated in the second experiment, which tested whether, for a random sample of 15 items from each of 8 categories, a positive correlation would be found between typicality ratings and number of properties listed. The third experiment produced a set of typicality ratings in which the 20 subjects were able to indicate that they were unable to rate the item because they were unfamiliar with it. Results showed that (1) subjects sometimes produced more properties for items they rated low in typicality; (2) in a large, random sample of items, subjects tended to produce fewer properties for atypical items; and (3) subjects tended to assign totally unfamiliar words to the bottom of a typicality scale rather than reflect low typicality of the referents themselves. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.; Public Health Service (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.