Crowded and sparse domains in object recognition: consequences for categorisation and naming
Some models of object recognition propose that items from structurally crowded categories (e.g., living things) permit faster access to superordinate semantic information than structurally dissimilar categories (e.g., nonliving things), but slower access to individual object information when naming items. We present four experiments that utilize the same matched stimuli: two examine superordinate categorization and two examine picture naming. Experiments 1 and 2 required participants to sort pictures into their appropriate superordinate categories and both revealed faster categorization for living than nonliving things. Nonetheless, the living thing superiority disappeared when the atypical categories of body parts and musical instruments were excluded. Experiment 3 examined naming latency and found no diVerence between living and nonliving things. This Wnding was replicated in Experiment 4 where the same items were presented in diVerent formats (e.g., color and line-drawn versions). Taken as a whole, these experiments show that the ease with which people categorize items maps strongly onto the ease with which they name them.