A Computational Account of Basic Level and Typicality Effects

Douglas H. Fisher

Cognitive psychology has uncovered two effects that have altered traditional views of human classification. Basic level effects suggest that humans prefer concepts at a particular level of generality, while typicality effects indicate that some instances of a class are more readily recognized as such than others. This paper describes a model of memory that accounts for basic level effects, typicality effects, and interactions between them. More generally, computer experiments lay the groundwork for a formal unification of basic level and typicality phenomena.

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