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Individual differences |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |
Learned generalization or secondary generalization is an aspect of learning theory. In learning studies it can be shown that subjects, both animal and human will respond in the same way to different stimuli if they have similar properties established by a process of conditioning. This underpins the process by which subjects are able to perform newly acquired behaviours in new settings.
This was formalized in Roger Shepard's universal law of generalization which states the probability that a response to one stimulus will be generalized to another will be a function of the distance between the two stimuli. "Generalization" in this case is measured by means of confusion error, while the use of "distance" depends on the assumption that stimuli will be compared in some kind of psychological space (the latter being typical of Shepard's work).
Using experimental evidence from both human and non-human subjects, Shepard hypothesizes, more specifically, that probability of generalization will fall off exponentially with the distance measured by one of two particular metrics. His analysis goes on to argue for the universality of this rule for all sentient organisms due to evolutionary internalization.
- Acoustic generalization
- Cognitive generalization
- Concept formation
- Discrimination learning
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Generalization gradient
- Response generalization
- Semantic generalization
- Stimulus generalization
- Transfer (learning)