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The Right Tool for the Job: Information-Processing Analysis in Categorization
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB MESA AZ HUMAN EFFECTIVENESS DIRECTORATE
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Smith and Minda 2000 showed that mathematical approximations of several popular categorization theories could be fit equally well to the average percentage of A responses in their meta-analysis of studies that used the 5-4 category structure. They conclude that the 5-4 category structure is not a useful paradigm for explaining categorization in terms of cognitive processes. We disagree with their conclusion, and contend instead that the problem lies with the data collection and analysis methods typically used to study categorization in this and other category structures. To support this claim, we describe a recently completed study in which we collected and used a variety of converging data to reveal the details of participants cognitive processes in a 5-4 category structure task.
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