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ERIC Number: EJ884837
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
The Costs of Supervised Classification: The Effect of Learning Task on Conceptual Flexibility
Hoffman, Aaron B.; Rehder, Bob
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v139 n2 p319-340 May 2010
Research has shown that learning a concept via standard supervised classification leads to a focus on diagnostic features, whereas learning by inferring missing features promotes the acquisition of within-category information. Accordingly, we predicted that classification learning would produce a deficit in people's ability to draw "novel contrasts"--distinctions that were not part of training--compared with feature inference learning. Two experiments confirmed that classification learners were at a disadvantage at making novel distinctions. Eye movement data indicated that this conceptual inflexibility was due to (a) a narrower attention profile that reduces the encoding of many category features and (b) learned inattention that inhibits the reallocation of attention to newly relevant information. Implications of these costs of supervised classification learning for views of conceptual structure are discussed. (Contains 12 figures, 1 table, and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A