Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

The universal law of generalization holds for naturalistic stimuli


Jacoby,  Nori       
Research Group Computational Auditory Perception, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Marjieh, R., Jacoby, N., Peterson, J. C., & Griffiths, T. L. (2024). The universal law of generalization holds for naturalistic stimuli. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 153(3), 573-589. doi:10.1037/xge0001533.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-3D6D-4
Shepard’s universal law of generalization is a remarkable hypothesis about how intelligent organisms should perceive similarity. In its broadest form, the universal law states that the level of perceived similarity between a pair of stimuli should decay as a concave function of their distance when embedded in an appropriate psychological space. While extensively studied, evidence in support of the universal law has relied on low-dimensional stimuli and small stimulus sets that are very different from their real-world counterparts. This is largely because pairwise comparisons—as required for similarity judgments—scale quadratically in the number of stimuli. We provide strong evidence for the universal law in a naturalistic high-dimensional regime by analyzing an existing data set of 214,200 human similarity judgments and a newly collected data set of 390,819 human generalization judgments (N = 2,406 U.S. participants) across three sets of natural images.