Understanding the Effect of Social Context on Learning: A Replication of Xu and Tenenbaum (2007b)

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Does the source of a piece of data—the process by which it is sampled—influence the inferences that we draw from it? Xu and Tenenbaum (2007b) reported a large effect of sampling process on learning: When a category exemplar was presented by a knowledgeable teacher, learners generalized more narrowly than when it was presented from an unknowledgeable source. In 5 experiments, 4 online and 1 in-person, we attempted to replicate this result. Aggregating across our studies, we replicated the original finding of sensitivity to the sampling process, but with a smaller effect size than the original. We discuss these findings in the context of concerns about replicability more generally, as well as the practical relevance of sampling effects in psychological experiments.

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