When Category Learning Is Holistic: A Reply To Ward And Scott

Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date


Published In

Memory And Cognition


A reply is presented to Ward and Scott’s (1987) recent reservations about the evidence for Kemler Nelson’s (1984) claims about when category learning is likely to be holistic. Focusing on the effect of intention, this paper suggests that: (1) contrary to Ward and Scott’s contention, a reanalysis of a critical set of original data continues to support Kemler Nelson’s claim of more holistic learning under unintentional conditions; (2) there is converging evidence for that claim; (3) Ward and Scott’s incidental learning data may diverge because of the inclusion of many weak learners; (4) Ward and Scott’s counterproposal makes some implausible and unsupported predictions; and (5) some of Ward and Scott’s reaction-time data are difficult to interpret. Still, a final discussion identifies some significant points of agreement with Ward and Scott.

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