The Roles of Set Size and Nonexample Type on Concept Formation

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2022


Eberly College of Arts and Sciences




Concept formation is demonstrated when a learner responds when new examples are presented (i.e., generalization) but not when new nonexamples are presented (i.e., discrimination). Gradually increasing the number of examples and nonexamples taught together (i.e., set-size expansion) promotes concept formation with nonhumans. Although set size impacts speed of acquisition with humans, concept formation has not been evaluated. Therefore, the primary purpose of the current study was to compare acquisition and concept formation during two procedures: set-size expansion and single set-size. College students were taught two biological concepts, one using set-size expansion and the other with the full set of stimuli. Participants were given feedback on the accuracy of their responses during instruction and completed probes (with no feedback provided) to assess concept formation. There were no systematic differences in accuracy during instruction, duration of instruction, or concept formation between the full set and the set-size expansion procedures. Accuracy during instruction did not reliably predict concept formation, demonstrating the importance of directly measuring concept formation when it is a desired outcome.

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Summary for Participant #8

Summary for Participant ID#9.txt (2 kB)
Summary for Participant #9

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