Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Jeff Zemla


Category learning;memory;Retrieval practice;Testing Effect

Subject Categories

Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


We report a category-learning experiment that examines the learning outcomes of classification and observational training methods across three category structures. Thus, we crossed training (classification vs. observation) and category type (natural vs. featural vs. relational). Some subjects classified the stimuli (side-by-side bird pairs) and received corrective feedback after each response, whereas others studied these stimuli, wherein they were presented with the corresponding category label. The posttest was an endorsement task made up of repeated and novel items. We did find an observation training advantage, as subjects in the observation training were better in the natural and relational categories for the repeated items, compared to subjects in the classification training. However, this advantage disappeared with feature-based categories, as subjects in both training conditions achieved comparable performance on the endorsement task. For the transfer to novel scenario, there were no differences between the training conditions across all categories. This implies that observation training can be leveraged as a training approach to the existing methods.


Open Access



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