Foroni, F. & Rothbart, M. (2011). Category boundaries and category labels: When does a category name influence the perceived similarity of category members?. Social Cognition,29(5), 547-576. United States of America: Guilford Publications. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2011.29.5.547
Three experiments examined the effect of verbal labels on the perception of category members. Participants were presented with silhouette drawings of female body types, ordered on a continuum from very thin to very heavy, and asked to judge the degree of similarity between pairs, as well as absolute weight of each silhouette. The presence/absence of category boundaries and labels were experimentally manipulated (Exp. 1–3), as was the “strength” of the labels (Exp. 2 and 3), their source (Exp. 1 and 2), and their implications (Exp. 3). The presence of a label, even when self-generated, showed clear effects on judgment: labels consistently increased within-category similarity (assimilation), and reduced across-category similarity (contrast). The judged strength of the verbal labels was correlated with the strength of categorization effects.
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