Finding categories through words: More nameable features improve category learning /
Finding categories through words: More nameable features improve category learning
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Description: What are the cognitive consequences of having a simple word for something? Here, we provide evidence that the ease of learning category distinctions based on simple visual features is predicted from the ease of naming those features. Across two experiments, participants learned categories composed of colors (Experiment 1A-1B), shapes (Experiment 2A-2B) and shape-color combinations (Experiment 3) that were either easy or more difficult to name in English. Holding the category structure constant, when the underlying features of the category were easy to name, participants were faster and more accurate in learning the novel category. These results suggest that compact verbal labels may facilitate hypothesis formation during learning. Our results have consequences for understanding how developmental and cross-linguistic differences in the lexical inventory affect category learning and conceptual change.