Latent Scope Bias in Categorization
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC NAVY CENTER FOR APPLIED RESEARCH IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
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Categories often have unobservable diagnostic features. For example, if a person is a lawyer, one might expect him to be both well dressed and knowledgeable about the law. However, without observing the person in a courtroom, one cannot tell whether or not he is knowledgeable about the law. How might we categorize the well-dressed person before we know whether or not he possesses a particular category feature Two studies showed that, all else equal, individuals prefer to group exemplars into categories that specify fewer unobserved and unobservable features--i.e., those that have a narrower latent scope--to those with a broader latent scope. In Experiment 1, participants were more likely to classify novel exemplars as part of a social category that had a narrower latent scope in a verbal task. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the scope bias generalizes to contexts in which category structure is never explicitly specified.
- Sociology and Law