Using subordinate level word prime exemplars in an object classification task
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AbstractResearch in human categorization has suggested that categorical hierarchies are created in memory. "Basic" categorizations were believed to develop prior to "subordinate" and "superordinate" categorizations of stimuli. Rosch (1976) indicated that basic level categorizations were always the first and fastest accessed and retrieved by subjects from memory. Tanaka and Taylor (1991) questioned this finding by showing that experts' preferred to access subordinate level categorizations from memory. This study was designed to use Rosch's (1976) "basic level" word prime taxonomy with a "subordinate exemplar" word prime taxonomy to determine whether "subordinate exemplar" word primes could attain reaction times comparable or faster than "basic level" word primes in a matching task. Also of interest was whether gender influenced reaction times in these taxonomies. The main findings were that (a) "subordinate exemplar" word primes had reaction times similar or faster than "basic level" word primes, and (b) gender differences in reaction times were present within both "basic level" and "subordinate exemplar" group classifications. Taken together, these results demonstrate that expertise and gender do have an effect on the primacy and use of basic level categorizations.
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