Learning Time-Varying Categories

Abstract

Many kinds of objects and events in our world have a strong time-dependent quality. However, most theories about concepts and categories are either insensitive to variation over time, or treat it as a nuisance factor that produces irrational order effects during learning. In this paper, we present a category learning experiment that explores people's ability to learn categories whose structure is strongly time dependent. In light of the results, we suggest that order effects in categorization may in part reflect a sensitivity to non-stationary environments, and that understanding dynamically changing concepts are an important part of developing a full account of human categorization.


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