ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (6): 843-852.

• 研究前沿 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Neural Mechanisms of Category Learning and Application

ZUO Bin;ZHANG Xiao-Bin   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China)
    (2 Hubei Human Development and Mental Health Key Laboratory, Wuhan 430079, China)
  • Received:2010-11-16 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2011-06-15 Published:2011-06-15
  • Contact: ZUO Bin

Abstract: The neural mechanisms of category learning and application (including non-human objects categorization and social categorization) were reviewed. Category learning is mainly relevant to neocortex, medial temporal lobe, basal ganglia and midbrain dopaminergic system. Different category learning tasks may activate different connections among these nervous systems. As for the classification of non-human objects, the involved neural mechanisms vary with the type, level, familiarity and similarity of the objects. In addition, the salience and uncertainty of the objects can affect neural responses of categorization. In different stages of the categorization process, there would be corresponding ERP components. For social categorization, people pay attention to out-group firstly, then process in-group deeper than out-group. P200 and N200 are the specific ERP components to distinguish out-group and in-group. Out-group activates the amygdala, and in-group activates fusiform gyrus and posterior cingulate cortex. Finally, the authors compared neural mechanisms of categorization of the human beings and the primate, and suggested the integration of the neural mechanisms of social categorization and non-human object categorization and comparison of neural mechanisms of categorization between human beings and primates should be paid more attention in future studies.

Key words: category learning, categorization of non-human objects, social categorization, primates’ categorization, neural mechanism