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ERIC Number: EJ820978
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Exemplars, Prototypes, Similarities, and Rules in Category Representation: An Example of Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis
Lee, Michael D.; Vanpaemel, Wolf
Cognitive Science, v32 n8 p1403-1424 Dec 2008
This article demonstrates the potential of using hierarchical Bayesian methods to relate models and data in the cognitive sciences. This is done using a worked example that considers an existing model of category representation, the Varying Abstraction Model (VAM), which attempts to infer the representations people use from their behavior in category learning tasks. The VAM allows for a wide variety of category representations to be inferred, but this article shows how a hierarchical Bayesian analysis can provide a unifying explanation of the representational possibilities using 2 parameters. One parameter controls the emphasis on abstraction in category representations, and the other controls the emphasis on similarity. Using 30 previously published data sets, this work shows how inferences about these parameters, and about the category representations they generate, can be used to evaluate data in terms of the ongoing exemplar versus prototype and similarity versus rules debates in the literature. Using this concrete example, this article emphasizes the advantages of hierarchical Bayesian models in converting model selection problems to parameter estimation problems, and providing one way of specifying theoretically based priors for competing models. (Contains 1 table, 9 figures and 2 notes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A