Glossary

category-specific agnosia A neuropsychological deficit in the ability to identify members of a specific natural category accompanied by a near normal ability to identify objects in other categories.

exemplars Items that qualify as category members, especially items that were seen during category learning.

explicit knowledge (declarative knowledge) Learned information that is available to awareness. Individuals are consciously aware that they learned this information, and it can be deliberately applied in order to make judgments.

implicit knowledge (nondeclarative knowledge) Learned information that is not available to awareness. Individuals show that they have learned this information through their performance, but they are not able to describe the information that is guiding their performance.

prototype The most typical example of a category. It is generally considered to be an arithmetic average of all exemplars of the category or an item containing the most frequently occurring features in the category.

Category learning in its broadest sense refers to all learning in which a response is generalized to multiple stimuli. Although all organisms exhibit category learning to some extent, humans in particular have a remarkable ability to learn to classify items based on extremely complex criteria. For example, a wine connoisseur is able to readily classify novel wines by grape, and an art historian can swiftly and accurately judge the period of a newly encountered painting. Human category learning also includes more mundane abilities, such as determining that a papaya is a fruit the first time one is tasted or being able to use nonverbal cues to determine a friend's mood.

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