Abstract: Categories are often structured by the similarities of instances within the category defined across dimensions or features. Researchers typically assume that there is a direct, linear relationship between the physical input dimensions across which category exemplars are defined and the psychological representation of these dimensions. However, this assumption is not always warranted. Through a set of simulations, we demonstrate that the psychological representations of input dimensions developed through long-term prior experience can place very strong constraints on category learning. We compare the model's behavior to auditory, visual, and cross-modal human category learning and make conclusions regarding the nature of the psychological representations of the dimensions in those studies. These simulations support the conclusion that the nature of psychological representations of input dimensions is a critical aspect to understanding the mechanisms underlying category learning.
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