Abstract categories present with graded structure. The extent to which feature commonality between exemplars and category provides a satisfying account of this graded structure varies from one abstract category to the other (Hampton, 1981). We investigate whether the incorporation of features that exemplars share with external categories yields an improved account of abstract categories' graded structures. In doing so, we follow the suggestion that abstract categories are relational in nature (Goldstone, 1996; Wiemer-Hastings & Xu, 2005). The generalized polymorphous concept model, which incorporates both types of features, is found to improve the account of typicality and category membership in three of seven studied abstract categories. These three categories are found to be the most abstract, suggesting that it is appropriate to think of abstract categories as varying along a continuum of abstractness/interrelatedness rather than as a distinct type of category altogether.

Acta Psychologica
Department of Psychology

Verheyen, S, Stukken, L., De Deyne, S., Dry, M. J., & Storms, G. (2011). The generalized polymorphous concept account of graded structure in abstract categories. Acta Psychologica, 39, 1117–1132. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/125384