NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ952442
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Uncovering Contrast Categories in Categorization with a Probabilistic Threshold Model
Verheyen, Steven; De Deyne, Simon; Dry, Matthew J.; Storms, Gert
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v37 n6 p1515-1531 Nov 2011
A contrast category effect on categorization occurs when the decision to apply a category term to an entity not only involves a comparison between the entity and the target category but is also influenced by a comparison of the entity with 1 or more alternative categories from the same domain as the target. Establishing a contrast category effect on categorization in natural language categories has proven to be laborious, especially when the categories concerned are natural kinds situated at the superordinate level of abstraction. We conducted 3 studies with these categories to look for an influence on categorization of both similarity to the target category and similarity to a contrast category. The results are analyzed with a probabilistic threshold model that assumes categorization decisions arise from the placement of threshold criteria by individual categorizers along a single scale that holds the experimental stimuli. The stimuli's positions along the scale are shown to be influenced by similarity to both target and contrast. These findings suggest that the prevalence of contrast category effects on categorization might have been underestimated. Additional analyses demonstrate how the proposed model can be employed in future studies to systematically investigate the origins of contrast category effects on categorization. (Contains 1 footnote and 4 figures.)
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: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium