A test of the focusing hypothesis for category judgment: An explanation using the mental-box model

Tsuyoshi Hatori, Kazuhisa Takemura, Satoshi Fujii, Takashi Ideno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper presents a new model of category judgment. The model hypothesizes that, when more attention is focused on a category, the psychological range of the category gets narrower (category-focusing hypothesis). We explain this hypothesis by using the metaphor of a "mental-box" model: the more attention that is focused on a mental box (i.e., a category set), the smaller the size of the box becomes (i.e., a cardinal number of the category set). The hypothesis was tested in an experiment (N = 40), where the focus of attention on prescribed verbal categories was manipulated. The obtained data gave support to the hypothesis: category-focusing effects were found in three experimental tasks (regarding the category of "food", "height", and "income"). The validity of the hypothesis was discussed based on the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalShinrigaku Kenkyu
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun



  • Category judgment
  • Category-focusing hypothesis
  • Mental-box model
  • Psychophysics
  • Social judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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