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Inductive reasoning about chimeric creatures

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journal contribution
posted on 01.12.2011, 00:00 authored by Charles KempCharles Kemp

Given one feature of a novel animal, humans readily make inferences about other features of the animal. For example, winged creatures often fly, and creatures that eat fish often live in the water. We explore the knowledge that supports these inferences and compare two approaches. The first approach propose s that humans rely on abstract representations of dependency relationships between features, and is formalized here as a graphical model. The second approach proposes that humans rely on specific knowledge of previously encountered animal s, and is formalized here as a family of exemplar models. We evaluate these models using a task where participants reason about chimeras, or animals with pairs o f features that have not previously been observed to co-occur. The results support t he hypothesis that humans rely on explicit representations of relationships bet ween features


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