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Cognitive Science
Project Proposal

Category Learning Research

Jan Andrews (Cognitive Science)

This URSI project will contribute to two lines of ongoing research in our lab on category learning, one of which involves learned categorical perception (CP). This is a phenomenon whereby learning to categorize objects alters how those objects are judged or perceived, including both dimension-wide effects (increased sensitivity to category-relevant dimensions and/or decreased sensitivity to category-irrelevant dimensions) and boundary effects (increased sensitivity to differences that straddle a category boundary and/or decreased sensitivity to differences on one side of a category boundary). An important goal of our research is to explore what determines which of these effects will occur in a given study. Another line of research involves testing the effects of different methods of training and item presentation on the effectiveness of category learning with an emphasis on the benefits of within-category comparison vs. between-category contrast. The work will include programming experiments to collect data online, analyzing data, evaluating relevant research literature, and exploring different models of learned CP and/or category learning.

Pre-requisites: Previous coursework in cognitive science, interest in the project, and a willingness to learn and program in JavaScript are required; background in programming, research methods, and statistics is strongly recommended.

How should students express their interest in this project? I do not want students to arrange to meet with me about the project though they can, of course, ask questions about it.