The time course of comparison

Goldstone, R. L., & Medin, D. L. (1994). The time course of comparison. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition20, 29-50.

Similarity as interactive activation and mapping (SIAM), a model of the dynamic course of similarity comparisons, is presented. According to SIAM, when structured scenes are compared, the parts of one scene must be aligned, or placed in correspondence, with the parts from the other scene. Emerging correspondences influence each other in a manner such that, with sufficient time, the strongest correspondences are those that are globally consistent with other correspondences. Relative to globally inconsistent feature matches, globally consistent feature matches influence similarity more when greater amounts of time are given for a comparison. A common underlying process model of scene alignment accounts for commonalities between different task conditions. Differences between task conditions are accounted for by principled parametric variation within the model.

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Interactive activation, similarity, and mapping: An overview. in K. Holyoak and J. Barnden (Eds.)

Goldstone, R.L., & Medin, D.L. (1994). Interactive activation, similarity, and mapping: An overview. in K. Holyoak and J. Barnden (Eds.) Advances in Connectionist and Neural Computation Theory, Vol. 2: Analogical Connections. (pp. 321-362). Ablex : New Jersey.

The organization of this chapter is as follows. First, we review the role of mapping and global consistency in both low-level visual perception and abstract analogy and then suggest that mapping and consistency also apply to similarity assessment. Next, we review current models of similarity and note that they have little to say about processes by which corresponding properties are aligned. We then describe some experiments on alignment processes associated with comparisons. We account for these results with an interactive activation model of alignment and contrast this model with a number of alternative.s Finally, we asses the role of mapping or alignment in comparisons more generally and offer some conclusions.

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Learning new features of representation.

Goldstone, R. L., & Schyns, P. (1994). Learning new features of representation. Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 974-978). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

One productive and influential approach to cognition maintains that categorization, object recognition, and higher-level cognitive processes operate on the output of lower-level perceptual processing.That is, our perceptual systems provide us with a set of fixed features. These features are the inputs to higher-level cognitive processes.

Recently, researchers in psychology, computer science, and philosophy have questioned this unidirectional approach, arguing that in many situations, the high-level cognitive process being executed has an influence on the lower-level features that are created. For example, in addition to categorization being based on featural descriptions of objects, it might also be the case that the categorization process partially creates the featural decriptions that are used. Rather than viewing the “vocabulary” of primitives to be fixed by low-level processes, this view maintains that the vocabulary is dependent on the higher-level process that uses the vocabulary. This symposium will investigate several issues related to bidirectional interactions between high-level and low-level cognitive processes.

  • Medin, Douglas L. The Pervasiveness of Constructive Processes
  • Thibaut, Jean-Pierre. Role of Variation and Knowledge on Stimuli Segmentation: Developmental Aspects
  • Mozer, Michael. Computational Approaches to Functional Feature Learning
  • French, Robert. Representation-building in Analogical Reasoning
  • Schyns, Philippe G. A Functional Approach to Feature Learning

Letter perception: Toward a conceptual approach

McGraw, G., Rehling, J., & Goldstone, R. L. (1994). Letter perception: Toward a conceptual approach. Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 613-618). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

We present the results of a simple experiment in lower-case letter recognition. Unlike most psychology studies of letter recognition, we include in our data set letters at the extremes of their categories and investigate the recognition of letters of multiple typefaces. We are interested in the relationship between the recognition of normal letters and the recognition of non-standard letters. Results provide empirical evidence for top-down conceptual constrains on letter perception in the form of roles and relations between perceptually-based structural subcomponents. A process model based on the hypothesis developed below is currently being implemented.

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Categorization and the parsing of objects

Pevtzow, R., & Goldstone, R. L. (1994). Categorization and the parsing of objects. Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 717-722). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Several models of categorization suggest that fixed inputs (features) are combined together to create categorization rules. It is also possible that categorization influences what features are perceived and used. This experiment explored the possibility that categorization training influences how an object is decomposed into parts. In the first part of this experiment, subjects learned to categorize objects based on particular sets of line segments. Following categorization training, subjects were tested in a whole-part decomposition task, making speeded judgements of “does whole X contain probe Y.” All diagnostic and nondiagnostic category parts were used as parts within the whole objects, and as probes. Categorization training in the first part of the experiment affected performance on the second task. In particular, subjects were faster to respond when the whole object contained a part that was diagnostic for categorization than when it contained a nondiagnostic part. When the probe was a diagnostic category part subjects were faster to respond that it was present than absent, and when the probe was a nondiagnostic part, subjects were faster to respond that it was absent than that it was present. These results are discussed in terms of perceptual sensitivity, response bias, and the modulating influence of experience.

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Feature distribution and biased estimation of visual displays

Goldstone, R. L. (1993). Feature distribution and biased estimation of visual displays. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 19, 564-579.

Perceptual equivalents of confirmation biases and framing effects are observed in subjects` estimates of feature numerosity. Subjects are asked to estimate the percentage of display items that have a particular feature. Features either are randomly distributed or are spatially clustered such that features of the same type tend to be close. Subjects systematically overestimate the prevalence of features in clustered displays. The pattern of results is best explained by a regional salience bias: Features tend to be more salient if they belong to regions that have a high concentration of instruction-mentioned features. The regional salience bias is contrasted with a feature salience bias: Features tend to be more salient if they are mentioned in the instructions. The relations among the observed perceptual bias and traditional confirmation biases, numeric estimation, and attention are discussed.

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Evidence for interrelated and isolated concepts from prototype and caricature classifications

Goldstone, R. L. (1993). Evidence for interrelated and isolated concepts from prototype and caricature classifications. Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 498-503). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Previous research (Goldstone, 1991) has suggested that concepts differ in their degree of dependency on other concepts. While some concepts` characterizations depend on other simultaneously acquired concepts, other concepts are relatively isolated. The current experiments provide a new measure of a concept`s interrelatedness/isolation. It is assumed that if the prototype of a concept is classified with greater accuracy than a caricature, then the concept is relatively independent of the influences of other concepts. If a caricature is more easily categorized than the prototype, then the concept is relatively dependent on other concepts. If these assumptions are made, then the current experiments provide converging support for a interrelated/isolated distinction. Instructing subjects to form images of the concepts to be acquired, or infrequently alternating categories during presentation, yields relatively isolated concepts. Instructing subjects to try to discriminate between concepts, or frequently alternative categories, yields relatively interrelated concepts.

Dishonesty in self-report of copies made: Moral relativity and the Xerox machine

Goldstone, R. L., & Chin, C. (1993). Dishonesty in self-report of copies made: Moral relativity and the Xerox machine. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 14, 19-32.

This study involved noninvasive observation of copy-machine use at a university institution. Patrons` self-reports of copies were compared to the actual number of copies made. Results indicate a systematic underreporting of actual copies. Intermediate-level dishonesty is common place, whereby patrons underestimate the number of copies made but refrain from profit-maximizing dishonesty even in the absence of an external monitor. The percentage of copies unreported is approximately constant over different copy job sizes. There are strong self-imposed constraints on the level of allowed dishonesty. However, there is an increased tendency for intermediate-level dishonesty as copy job size increases. Nonreporting of copies and correct reporting of copies are both common for small jobs. There is an empirical dissociation between the prevalence and the degree of dishonest behaviors, interpretable in terms of different motivations that arise when financial gains are high and low. The results are also diagnostic in assessing the nature of the tradeoff between the competing motivations to maximize financial profits and to behave honestly.

Respects for similarity

Medin, D.L., Goldstone, R.L., & Gentner, D. (1993). Respects for similarity. Psychological Review, 100, 254-278.

This article reviews the status of similarity as an explanatory construct with a focus on similarity judgements. For similarity to be a useful construct, one must be able to specify the ways or respects in which two things are similar. One solution to this problem is to restruct the notion of similarity to hard-wired perceptual processes. It is argued that this view is too narrow and limiting. Instead, it is proposed that an important source of constraints derives from the similarity comparison process itself. Both new experiments and other evidence are described that support the idea that respects are determined by processes internal to comparisons.

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Concept learning and flexible weighting

Aha, D. W., and Goldstone, R. L. (1992). Concept learning and flexible weighting. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 534-539). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

We previously introduced an exemplar model, named GCM-ISW, that exploits a highly flexible weighting scheme. Or simulations showed that it records faster learning rates and higher asymptotic accuracies on several artificial categorization tasks than models with more limited abilities to warp input spaces. This paper extends our previous work; it describes experimental results that suggest human subjects also invoke such highly flexible schemes. In particular, our model provides significantly better fits than models with less flexibility, and we hypothesize that humans selectively weight attributes depending on an item`s location in the input space.

Feature diagnosticity as a tool for investigating positively and negatively defined concepts

Goldstone, R. L. (1991). Feature diagnosticity as a tool for investigating positively and negatively defined concepts. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 263-268). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Two methods of representing concepts are distinguished and empirically investigated. Negatively defined concepts are defined in terms of other concepts at the same level of abstraction. Positively defined concepts do not make recourse to other concepts at the same level of abstraction for their definition. In two experiments, subjects are biased to represent concepts underlying visual patterns in a positive manner by instructing subjects to form an image of the learned concepts and by initially training subjects on minimally distorted concept instances. Positively defined concepts are characterized by a large use of non-diagnostic features in concept representations, relative to negatively defined concepts. The distinction between positively and negatively defined concepts can account for the dual nature of natural concepts – as directly accessed during the recognition of items, and is intricately interconnected to other concepts.

Relational similarity and the nonindependence of features in similarity judgments

Goldstone, R. L., Medin, D. L., & Gentner, D. (1991). Relational similarity and the nonindependence of features in similarity judgments. Cognitive Psychology, 23, 222-264

Four experiments examined the hypothesis that simple attributional features and relational features operate differently in the determination of similarity judgements. Forced choice similarity judgments (“Is X or Y more similar to Z?”) and similarity rating tasks demonstrate that making the same featural change in two geometric stimuli unequally affects their judged similarity to a third stimulus (the comparison stimulus). More specifically, a featural change that causes stimuli to be more superficially similar and less relationally similar increases judged similarity if it occurs in stimuli that already share many superficial attributes, and decreases similarity if it occurs in stimuli that do not share as many superficial attributes. These results argue against an assumption of feature independence which asserts that the degree to which a feature shared by two objects affects similarity is independent of the other features shared by the objects. The MAX hypothesis is introduced, in which attributional and relational similarities are separately pooled, and shared features affect similarity more if the pool they are in is already relatively large. The results support claims that relations and attributes are psychologically distinct and that formal measures of similarity should not treat all types of matching features equally.

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Learning attribute relevance in context in instance-based learning algorithms

Aha, D. W., and Goldstone, R. L. (1990). Learning attribute relevance in context in instance-based learning algorithms. Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 141-148). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

There has been an upsurge of interest, in both artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology, in exemplar-based process models of categorization, which preserve specific instances instead of maintaining abstractions derived from them. Recent exemplar-based models provided accurate fits for subject results in a variety of experiments because, in accordance with Shepard`s (1987) observations, they define similarity to degrade exponentially with the distance between instances in psychological space. Although several researchers have shown that an attribute`s relevance in similarity calculations varies according to its context (i.e., the values of the other attributes in the instance and the target concept,” previous exemplar models define attribute relevance to be invariant across all instances. This paper introduces the GCM-ISW model, an extension of Nosofsky`s GCM model that uses context-specific attribute weights for categorization tasks. Since several researchers have reported that humans make context-sensitive classification decision, our model will fit subject data more accurately when attribute relevance is context-sensitive. We also introduce a process component for GCM-ISW and show that its learning rate is significantly faster than the rates of both previous exemplar-based process models when attribute relevance varies among instances. GCM-ISM is both computationally more efficient and more psychologically plausible than previous exemplar-based models.

Similarity involving attributes and relations: Judgments of similarity and difference are not inverses

Medin, D. L., Goldstone, R. L., & Gentner, D. (1990). Similarity involving attributes and relations: Judgments of similarity and difference are not inverses. Psychological Science, 1, 64-69.

Conventional wisdom and previous research suggest that similarity judgements and difference judgements are inverses of one another. An exception to this rule arises when both relational similarity and attributional similarity are considered. When presented with choices that are relationally or attributionally similar to a standard, human subjects tend to pick the relationally similar choice as more similar to the standard and as more different from the standard. These results not only reinforce the general distinction between attributes and relations but also show that attributes and relations are dynamically distinct in the processes that give rise to similarity and difference judgments.

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