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In H. Pashler (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Mind. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing. Human Category Learning, Neural Basis
 

Summary: In H. Pashler (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Mind. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.
Human Category Learning, Neural Basis
F. Gregory Ashby
Department of Psychology
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
USA
Within the cognitive sciences, categorization is defined as the act of responding differently to objects or events in
separate classes or categories. It is a vitally important skill that allows us to approach friends and escape foes, to find
food and avoid toxins. Not surprisingly, the scientific study of categorization has a long history. For most of this
time the focus was on the cognitive processes that mediate categorization. Within the past decade, however, the new
tools of cognitive neuroscience have been used to investigate the neurobiology of categorization processes. As will
be discussed in this entry, the consensus from this work is that all of the major memory systems probably contribute
to category learning and that the neural circuits that mediate initial category learning are different from the circuits
that enable us to respond automatically to highly learned categories.
Multiple Category Learning Systems
One recent discovery, which is due in part to this
new emphasis on neuroscience, is that humans have
multiple category-learning systems. An obvious
hypothesis, which quickly followed this discovery, is

  

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

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences