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ERIC Number: EJ945332
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Ideals and Category Typicality
Kim, ShinWoo; Murphy, Gregory L.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v37 n5 p1092-1112 Sep 2011
Barsalou (1985) argued that exemplars that serve category goals become more typical category members. Although this claim has received support, we investigated (a) whether categories have a single ideal, as negatively valenced categories (e.g., cigarette) often have conflicting goals, and (b) whether ideal items are in fact typical, as they often have unusual attributes. Because past studies on ideals were largely correlational and often used categories not strongly associated to goals (e.g., tree, bird, fish), we took an experimental approach, using categories with obvious goals. Our results indicated that exemplars having goal-fulfilling characteristics are generally judged as less typical than exemplars with average features. Also, although subjects had a general consensus on the ideals of neutral and positive categories, they held opposing opinions on the ideals of the negatively valenced categories. We found that this bimodality in idealness perception was due to differing perspectives taken on the categories; however, perspectives that changed idealness of category exemplars did not influence their typicality. In short, ideal exemplars that best serve category goals are not necessarily perceived as typical. We contrast the goal-fulfilling aspect of ideals with the structural notion of extreme values (e.g., very tall trees), which may influence typicality through other mechanisms. (Contains 7 tables, 4 figures and 2 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York