Analogical Transfer and Recognition Memory in Relational Classification Learning

AbstractPeople spontaneously make connections between superficially distinct domains through relational similarity, but this spontaneous transfer has yet to be demonstrated across distinct classification tasks. A related issue is that the acquisition of a category may affect recognition memory for category-consistent items. Participants in the Category Learning condition completed an initial classification task. The Category Learning and Baseline conditions each received category-consistent items to study followed by a recognition test. Both groups completed a final classification task in a novel domain abiding by the same underlying category structures as the initial classification task. The Category Learning group showed 1) increased false alarms during the recognition test and 2) higher accuracy in the final classification task (when told the classification phases were unrelated). This suggests that classification learning led to a schematization of the category-defining concept (evidenced by increased false alarms), which supported spontaneous transfer of relational concepts across distinct classification tasks.

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