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Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2001, Vol. 130, No. 1.77-96

Summary: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
2001, Vol. 130, No. 1.77-96
Copyright 2001 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
0096-3445/01/S5.00 DOI: 10.1037//0096-3445.130.1.77
Suboptimality in Human Categorization andIdentification
F. Gregory Ashby
University of California at Santa Barbara
Elliott M. Waldron
Seattle, Washington
W. William Lee
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Amelia Berkman
Santa Barbara, California
Categorization and identification decision processes were examined and compared in 4 separate exper-
iments. In all tasks, the critical stimulus component was a line that varied across trials in length and
orientation, and the optimal decision rules were always complex piecewise quadratic functions.Evidence
was found that identificationis mediated by separate explicit and implicit systems. In addition, a common
type of suboptimaliry was found in both categorization and identification. In particular, observers
apparently approximated the piecewise quadratic functions of the optimal decision rules with simpler
piecewise linear functions. A computational model, which was motivated by a recent neuropsychological


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


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences