Nameability of spatial locations and category learning in children
What is the relationship between the mental lexicon and categorization? Many studies show that the names of objects speed up category learning. Our previous experiment demonstrated that the names of an object feature’s location also help while learning rules of categorization. In the present experiment, we evaluated the manifestation of this effect in ontogenesis, having compared the process of development of new concepts in 7- and 9-year-old children. Participants were supposed to learn to distinguish between two groups of aliens by signs on the foot. We varied the location of signs on the silhouette of the foot. In the high nameability condition, signs were located in places on a foot silhouette that were more nameable (e.g., “heel”). In the low nameability condition, signs were located in places without common names (e.g., “Achilles’ tendon”). The category rule included relevant places for signs. We found that 9-year-old participants were more successful in learning new categories in the high nameability condition than in the low nameability condition. However, 7-year-old participants did not demonstrate differences in the two conditions. These results are discussed in relation to the development of the ability to form new categories in the course of ontogenesis.
Four experiments were conducted to assess the influence of label type (Experiments 1a and 1b) and the interference from articulation (Experiments 2a and 2b) on the learning of dense vs. sparse categories in classic category formation tasks with feedback. It was found that using pictorial labels improves dense category learning, but for sparse category learning it has no effect. Sparse category formation was more effective in conditions with easily verbalized labels (familiar color names, no verbal interference). Additionally, it was shown that verbal interference (the additional task to verbalize the labels) worsens sparse category formation, but for dense category formation it has no effect. The results of our experiments are discussed in accordance with the Competition Between Verbal and Implicit Systems (COVIS) model of multiple systems of categorization.
In this paper, we studied the formation of two different categorization rules that activate the work of procedural and declarative memory in task A/nonA. In our previous experiment (Pokidysheva, Kotov, 2015)  it was shown that the semantics of the word helped form a category in the declarative system and did not help in the procedural one when forming categories in the A/B task. In this paper, based on the material from the previous study, we changed the type of the task and the subjects searched for common signs in only one group of examples, distinguishing it from a group of examples without common signs. The subjects, as in the previous study, performed the task in one of three conditions: when the additional semantic meanings were directly related to feedback, contradicted it, or absent altogether. As a result, we found that the influence of the semantics of the word in the formation of categories based on declarative memory disappeared, but the subjects were successful in forming the category in all experimental conditions. In the case of the formation of categories on the basis of procedural memory, the influence of the semantics of the word was also not detected (as in the previous study), but the success rate was low. The results obtained are compared with the results of studies considered in the framework of the theory of multiple learning systems (Ashby, Crossley, 2010) .
Both examples and verbal explanations play an important role in learning new concepts and categories. At the same time, learning from verbal explanations is not accounted for in most category learning models, and is not studied in the traditional category learning paradigm. We propose a rational category communication model that formally describes the process of communicating a category structure using both verbal explanations and visual examples in a pedagogical setting. We build our model based on the assumption that verbal instructions are best suited for communication of crude constraints on a category structure, while exemplars complement it by providing means for finer adjustments. Our empirical study demonstrates that verbal communication is indeed more robust to changes in stimuli dimensionality, but that its efficiency is adversely affected when distinguishing between categories requires perceptual precision. Communicating through examples has a reversed pattern. We hope that both the proposed experimental paradigm and the computational model would facilitate further research into the relative roles of verbal and exemplar communication in category learning.
Nameability (ease of naming an object or a feature) is one of the factors supporting new category formation. The effect of a part’s nameability (Zettersten and Lupyan, 2018) depends on the greater success of defining a visual categorical feature of an object part, such as color or shape, among different features with basic names (e.g.,“red”) than among the features with less basic names (e.g, “mustard”). In this study we replicated this effect, and additionally we showed that it is restricted by the type of category rule: the nameability of features did not improve the accuracy of learning in the condition with probabilistic rules. But the nameability of features improved the accuracy of learning in the condition with rules based on one categorical feature. In the second experiment we showed that a verbal interference task eliminates this effect in learning the rules based on one categorical feature. In summary, our results explain how verbal processes (availability of names in long- term memory and verbalization) help us to learn new categories.We discuss the possible sources of the effects of nameability on category learning in the course of ontogenetic development.
The distractive effects on attentional task performance in different paradigms are analyzed in this paper. I demonstrate how distractors may negatively affect (interference effect), positively (redundancy effect) or neutrally (null effect). Distractor effects described in literature are classified in accordance with their hypothetical source. The general rule of the theory is also introduced. It contains the formal prediction of the particular distractor effect, based on entropy and redundancy measures from the mathematical theory of communication (Shannon, 1948). Single- vs dual-process frameworks are considered for hypothetical mechanisms which underpin the distractor effects. Distractor profiles (DPs) are also introduced for the formalization and simple visualization of experimental data concerning the distractor effects. Typical shapes of DPs and their interpretations are discussed with examples from three frequently cited experiments. Finally, the paper introduces hierarchical hypothesis that states the level-fashion modulating interrelations between distractor effects of different classes.
This article describes the expierence of studying factors influencing the social well-being of educational migrants as mesured by means of a psychological well-being scale (A. Perrudet-Badoux, G.A. Mendelsohn, J.Chiche, 1988) previously adapted for Russian by M.V. Sokolova. A statistical analysis of the scale's reliability is performed. Trends in dynamics of subjective well-being are indentified on the basis the correlations analysis between the condbtbions of adaptation and its success rate, and potential mechanisms for developing subjective well-being among student migrants living in student hostels are described. Particular attention is paid to commuting as a factor of adaptation.