Ad hoc categories

  title={Ad hoc categories},
  author={Lawrence W. Barsalou},
  journal={Memory \& Cognition},
  • L. Barsalou
  • Published 1 May 1983
  • Psychology
  • Memory & Cognition
People construct ad hoc categories to achieve goals. For example, constructing the category of “things to sell at a garage sale” can be instrumental to achieving the goal of selling unwanted possessions. These categories differ from common categories (e.g., “fruit,” “furniture”) in that ad hoc categories violate the correlational structure of the environment and are not well established in memory. Regarding the latter property, the category concepts, concept-to-instance associations, and… 
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