The Effects of Feature-Label-Order and Their Implications for Symbolic Learning

Cognitive Science 34 (6):909-957 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Symbols enable people to organize and communicate about the world. However, the ways in which symbolic knowledge is learned and then represented in the mind are poorly understood. We present a formal analysis of symbolic learning—in particular, word learning—in terms of prediction and cue competition, and we consider two possible ways in which symbols might be learned: by learning to predict a label from the features of objects and events in the world, and by learning to predict features from a label. This analysis predicts significant differences in symbolic learning depending on the sequencing of objects and labels. We report a computational simulation and two human experiments that confirm these differences, revealing the existence of Feature-Label-Ordering effects in learning. Discrimination learning is facilitated when objects predict labels, but not when labels predict objects. Our results and analysis suggest that the semantic categories people use to understand and communicate about the world can only be learned if labels are predicted from objects. We discuss the implications of this for our understanding of the nature of language and symbolic thought, and in particular, for theories of reference

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,354

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Computing Machinery and Understanding.Michael Ramscar - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (6):966-971.
Lack of referential vocal learning from LCD video by grey parrots.Irene M. Pepperberg & Steven R. Wilkes - 2004 - Interaction Studiesinteraction Studies Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 5 (1):75-97.
Symbolic Versus Associative Learning.John E. Hummel - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (6):958-965.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-11

Downloads
65 (#245,285)

6 months
11 (#343,906)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Melody Dye
Stanford University

References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & D. G. C. Macnabb (eds.) - 1969 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books.

View all 80 references / Add more references