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Psychological Review 1998, Vol. 105, No. 3, 442-481

Summary: Psychological Review
1998, Vol. 105, No. 3, 442-481
Copyright 1998 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
A Neuropsychological Theory of Multiple Systems in Category Learning
F. Gregory Ashby, Leola A. Alfonso-Reese, And U. Turken, and Elliott M. Waldron
University of California, Santa Barbara
A neuropsychological theory is proposed that assumes category learning is a competition between
separate verbal and implicit (i.e., procedural-learning-based) categorization systems. The theory
assumes that the caudate nucleus is an important component of the implicit system and that the
anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortices are critical to the verbal system. In addition to making
predictions for normal human adults, the theory makes specific predictions for children, elderly
people, and patients suffering from Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, major depression,
amnesia, or lesions of the prefrontal cortex. Two separate formal descriptions of the theory are also
provided. One describes trial-by-trial learning, and the other describes global dynamics. The theory
is tested on published neuropsychological data and on category learning data with normal adults.
Humans are remarkably adept at categorizing objects and
events in their environment. In fact, it is now well established
that humans can learn some extremely complex (i.e., nonlinear)
categorization rules (e.g., Ashby & Maddox, 1992; McKinley &


Source: Ashby, F. Gregory - Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences