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Causality and the Categorisation of Objects and Events

Schunn, CD and Vera, AH (1995) Causality and the Categorisation of Objects and Events. Thinking & Reasoning, 1 (3). 237 - 284. ISSN 1354-6783

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Two series of experiments investigating the nature of category structure are presented. The studies focused on object categories and event categories. It was found that, for both objects and events, property centrality (a rating of how important the property is to the category) is not entirely predicted by property typicality (how frequently the object or event possesses that property). By contrasting conditions in which adult subjects rank–ordered properties according to various criteria, it was found that causal theories about the role of the properties in the categories strongly predicted property centrality, although recognitional and definitional factors did play some role. This relationship held for both familiar and newly acquired categories. Recent empirical work on the attribution of causal relationships to sequences of events is reviewed. The evidence from both the past work and the current studies indicates that humans do indeed have causal theories which they use to categorise objects and events. © 1995, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Schunn, CDschunn@pitt.eduSCHUNN0000-0003-3589-297X
Vera, AH
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Learning Research & Development Center
Date: 1 July 1995
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Thinking & Reasoning
Volume: 1
Number: 3
Page Range: 237 - 284
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/13546789508256910
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1354-6783
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2014 18:11
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:56


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