Category learning can occur effortlessly, seeming to arise simply as a consequence of exposure to exemplars. In other cases, category learning results from explicit hypothesis testing to determine diagnostic rules. Because categories can be defined based on a wide range of information, it makes sense that multiple mechanisms would have evolved to allow humans to classify new instances based on previous experience. Being able to make predictions about new stimuli based on experience with members of the same category is highly adaptive. Thus, it is not surprising that multiple mechanisms evolved to enable this ability for a wide range of stimuli. Part of the challenge to cognitive neuroscientists is to precisely define the different forms of information acquired by subjects in category learning tasks in order to guide the search for neural substrates.

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