The Huron University College Journal of Learning and Motivation

Article Title

Natural Concepts in Humans


Laura Mincer


Hermstein, Loveland and Cable (1976) were some of the first researchers to determine that pigeons use principles of classification in order to learn natural concepts. Their study, in conjunction with several similar studies that tested natural concept learning in other animals, formed the basis for this study. It was hypothesized that a combination of the methods used to test for natural concept learning in animals, could be replicated and applied to human participants. Four subjects individually participated in four sessions, during which they were presented with 40 randomly ordered pairs of S+ and S- pictures. Participants were rewarded for the selection of S+ pictures, and received no reward for the selection of S- pictures. Analyses were computed using a one-way within-subjects ANOVA design, a repeated measures t-test and a single sample t-test, each of which demonstrated a significant increase in performance across the four sessions.

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