Reevaluating the determinants of category-based induction
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What makes one more or less likely to project a novel property from an item to that item’s broader category? Research on category-based induction has documented a consistent typicality effect: typical exemplars promote stronger inferences than atypical exemplars. This work has been largely confined to categories whose central tendencies are the most typical members of the category. Experiments 1 and 2, using natural and artificial categories, showed that central tendencies have greatest induction strength even for categories that are best represented by ideal exemplars. Experiments 3-7 investigate the role of familiarity in induction. Experiments 3 and 4 directly contrast statistical averageness against familiarity through category learning procedures. Experiment 5 creates this contrast through frequency differences across stimuli. Experiments 6 and 7 investigate how the familiarity advantage found in Experiments 3-5 can be modified through fluency manipulations, independent of actual experience. Taken together, these studies suggest that category-based induction is driven largely by a familiarity heuristic.