CiteWeb id: 19770000019

CiteWeb score: 7509

DOI: 10.1016/B978-1-4832-1446-7.50025-X

The metric and dimensional assumptions that underlie the geometric representation of similarity are questioned on both theoretical and empirical grounds. A new set-theoretical approach to similarity is developed in which objects are represented as collections of features, and similarity is described as a featurematching process. Specifically, a set of qualitative assumptions is shown to imply the contrast model, which expresses the similarity between objects as a linear combination of the measures of their common and distinctive features. Several predictions of the contrast model are tested in studies of similarity with both semantic and perceptual stimuli. The model is used to uncover, analyze, and explain a variety of empirical phenomena such as the role of common and distinctive features, the relations between judgments of similarity and difference, the presence of asymmetric similarities, and the effects of context on judgments of similarity. The contrast model generalizes standard representations of similarity data in terms of clusters and trees. It is also used to analyze the relations of prototypicali ty and family resemblance. Similarity plays a fundamental role in errors of substitution, and correlation between theories of knowledge and behavior. It serves occurrences. Analyses of these data attempt to as an organizing principle by which individuals explain the observed similarity relations and classify objects, form concepts, and make gen- to capture the underlying structure of the oberalizations. Indeed, the concept of similarity jects under study. is ubiquitous in psychological theory. It under- The theoretical analysis of similarity relalies the accounts of stimulus and response tions has been dominated by geometric generalization in learning, it is employed to models. These models represent objects as explain errors in memory and pattern recogni- points in some coordinate space such that the tion, and it is central to the analysis of con- observed dissimilarities between objects cor