ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (12): 1334-1344.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.01334

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The Construction of Verbal Label and Response Label in Rule-Based Category Learning

RU Taotao;MO Lei;Zhang Ting;JIAO Honghao;HUANG Yulan   

  1. (Center for Studies of Psychological Application; South China Normal University; Guangzhou 510631; China)
  • Received:2012-08-31 Published:2013-12-25 Online:2013-12-25
  • Contact: MO Lei


There are two major models account for the mechanism of rule-based category learning, including single association model and two associations’ model. The former claims that a stimulus-to-label association associates the stimuli and category labels directly in the rule-based classification. While the latter holds that rule-based classification as a kind of implicit learning, is affected by both a stimulus-to-label association and a label- to-response association. The two kinds of associations were also called verbal label and response label respectively. Previous researchers found that the construction of the two kinds of labels follows a stimulus- to-label-to-response pattern, like chain processing, when people learn verbal and response label successively. To our knowledge, the question is whether this construction order of verbal label and response label was artificially arranged by these former researchers, since participants were asked to complete the response label firstly according to stimulus’s verbal label which needs no response. In other words, it is still unknown that whether the learning order of the two labels would affect the way of the construction of two labels. The current study conducted two experiments to investigate whether there would be a stimulus-to-response pattern, like parallel processing, when participants learn the two labels randomly or reversely. Using the standard label conversion paradigm (Maddox, Glass et al. 2010), experiment 1 explored the question whether the main way of the construction of the two labels is chain processing or parallel processing when the learning order of verbal label and response label was random. Experiment 2 further investigated whether the reverse learning order of the two labels would change the way of the construction of them. Experiment 1 found that the construction of the labels follow the chain of stimulus-verbal label-response label when the learning order of two labels was random. Experiment 2 also confirmed this chain processing pattern even though the response label of stimulus was learned priority. In conclusion, the present research indicates that the main way people construct the language category and the experience category of the stimuli is the chain processing, which is not influenced by the learning order of the labels. Moreover, the order of the chain was individually default and stable.

Key words: Rule-based category learning, verbal label, response label, construction