August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
The tortoise and the hare: Fast and slow learners in an object categorization task
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James Tanaka
    University of Victoria, Canada
  • Kyla Basbaum
    University of Victoria, Canada
  • Amy vanWell
    University of Victoria, Canada
  • Anna Lawrance
    University of Victoria, Canada
  • Cole Tamburri
    University of Victoria, Canada
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 4957. doi:
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      James Tanaka, Kyla Basbaum, Amy vanWell, Anna Lawrance, Cole Tamburri; The tortoise and the hare: Fast and slow learners in an object categorization task. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):4957.

      Download citation file:

      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

In a typical object training study, participants are trained to categorize objects (e.g., cars, birds) to a pre-determined level of performance (e.g., 90% accuracy). After training, category retention is tested by asking participants to identify trained and novel exemplars from the learned category. One limitation of this approach is that it fails to consider how the learning characteristics of the individual might affect their subsequent retention of category knowledge. In this study, participants (n = 34) completed an online study where they were trained to identify four species of warblers (Capemay, Townsend, Prairie, Magnolia) or four species of mushrooms (Jacksonii, Flavoconnia, Muscaria, Persicna). Trials consisted of a preview stage where participants pressed the keyboard space bar to view the stimulus (warblers or mushrooms) and a selection stage where participants released the space bar to categorize the stimulus according to its species via a key press response. In the training phase, participants received feedback on their selection and continued until the participant categorized the four species of warblers (or mushrooms) to a 90% accuracy criterion. Based on their total number of trials-to-criterion (TTC), participants were split into “fast” or “slow” learning groups. Following training, participants were asked to identify 40 new images of warblers (or mushrooms) without feedback. Despite having required fewer training trials, participants in the fast group were more accurate than participants in the slow group (fast: 95% versus slow: 88%, p < .02). Interestingly, participants in the slow group showed faster reaction times than participants in the fast group (slow: 1756 ms versus fast: 1885 ms, t = 14.13, p < .001), driven by shorter preview times (slow: 350 ms versus fast: 535 ms, p < .001). Collectively, these results suggest that individual differences in category learning influence the characteristics of category retrieval.


This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.