Instance Frequency, Categorization, and the Modulating Effect of Experience

Donald Homa, Sherry Dunbar, Liva Nohre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Three experiments explored the role of instance frequency on categorization, where the variables of category size, old-new similarity, and degree of learning were varied. Following learning, subjects received a transfer task that included the category prototype, new instances, and new instances that had a manipulated similarity relationship to training instances that were differentially familiarized. The results indicated that instance frequency was relatively unimportant in influencing transfer, regardless of category size (3, 20), when original training was taken to nearerrorless performance (Experiments 1 and 2). However, instance frequency emerged as an important variable at early and intermediate levels of learning for each category size (Experiment 3). The results of a quantitative model suggest that instance frequency is inversely related to the emergent influences of the category prototype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-458
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Instance Frequency, Categorization, and the Modulating Effect of Experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this