Automaticity of basic-level categorization accounts for labeling effects in visual recognition memory.

Richler JJ, Gauthier I, Palmeri TJ
J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2011 37 (6): 1579-87

PMID: 21767063 · DOI:10.1037/a0024347

Are there consequences of calling objects by their names? Lupyan (2008) suggested that overtly labeling objects impairs subsequent recognition memory because labeling shifts stored memory representations of objects toward the category prototype (representational shift hypothesis). In Experiment 1, we show that processing objects at the basic category level versus exemplar level in the absence of any overt labeling produces the same qualitative pattern of results. Experiment 2 demonstrates that labeling does not always disrupt memory as predicted by the representational shift hypothesis: Differences in memory following labeling versus preference are more likely an effect of judging preference, not an effect of overt labeling. Labeling does not influence memory by shifting memory representations toward the category prototype. Rather, labeling objects at the basic level produces memory representations that are simply less robust than those produced by other kinds of study tasks.

MeSH Terms (14)

Analysis of Variance Attention Female Humans Male Neuropsychological Tests Pattern Recognition, Visual Photic Stimulation Reaction Time Recognition, Psychology Serial Learning Students Time Factors Universities

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