Perceptual advantage for category-relevant perceptual dimensions: The case of shape and motion

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Category learning facilitates perception along relevant stimulus dimensions, even when tested in a discrimination task that does not require categorization. While this general phenomenon has been demonstrated previously, perceptual facilitation along dimensions has been documented by measuring different specific phenomena in different studies using different kinds of objects. Across several object domains, there is support for acquired distinctiveness, the stretching of a perceptual dimension relevant to learned categories. Studies using faces and studies using simple separable visual dimensions have also found evidence of acquired equivalence, the shrinking of a perceptual dimension irrelevant to learned categories, and categorical perception, the local stretching across the category boundary. These later two effects are rarely observed with complex non-face objects. Failures to find these effects with complex non-face objects may have been because the dimensions tested previously were perceptually integrated. Here we tested effects of category learning with non-face objects categorized along dimensions that have been found to be processed by different areas of the brain, shape and motion. While we replicated acquired distinctiveness, we found no evidence for acquired equivalence or categorical perception.




Folstein, J. R., Palmeri, T. J., & Gauthier, I. (2014). Perceptual advantage for category-relevant perceptual dimensions: The case of shape and motion. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(DEC).

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