Adults use gradient similarity information in compositional rules

Lauren A. Oey, Francis Mollica, Steven T Piantadosi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


When learning about the world, we develop mental representations or concepts for things we have never seen. At the same time, we also develop representations for things that are similar to what we have experienced. Traditionally, similarity-based and rule-based systems have been used as distinct models to capture conceptual representation. However, it seems implausible that we do not flexibly deploy both systems. Whether both systems can be used simultaneously to represent components of a single concept is an open empirical question. One example suggesting that the use of both systems is possible is the concept of a ZEBRA, which looks like a horse but striped. Using an artificial concept learning task, we test whether people can combine similarity and rules compositionally in order to represent concepts. Our results suggest that people are able to compose similarity and rules when mentally representing a single concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2018)
Subtitle of host publicationChanging/Minds
PublisherAustin TX: Cognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9911967-8-4
ISBN (Print)9781510872059
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2018
Event40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Madison, United States
Duration: 25 Jul 201828 Jul 2018


Conference40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Abbreviated titleCogSci 2018
CountryUnited States
Internet address


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