Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-1897-9590

Date of Award

12-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

J. David Smith

Second Advisor

Barbara Church

Third Advisor

Michael Beran

Fourth Advisor

Sarah Barber

Abstract

Multiple-systems theorists assume that different brain systems facilitate different types of category learning. This project focuses on whether perceptual learning facilitates family-resemblance category learning. Rhesus macaques were tested to see if they were able to learn a single category prototype and also learn about two category prototypes simultaneously through mere exposure. Classic COVIS theory predicted exposure would benefit learning a single category prototype but not learning simultaneously about two category prototypes. COVIS plus theory predicted exposure would benefit in both situations. Results showed that exposure was clearly beneficial when learning a single category, but harmed learning two categories. Results from prototype modeling suggest that relevant exposure did allow the macaques to build two separate prototype representations but did not aid categorization. This was not predicted by either theory. Further research needs to be done to distinguish between the two theories.

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