According to the knowledge partitioning framework, people sometimes master complex tasks by creating multiple independent parcels of partial knowledge. Research has shown that knowledge parcels may contain mutually contradictory information, and that each parcel may be used without regard to knowledge that is demonstrably present in other parcels. This article reports 4 experiments that investigated knowledge partitioning in categorization. When component boundaries of a complex categorization were identified by a context cue, a significant proportion of participants learned partial and independent categorization strategies that were chosen on the basis of context. For those participants, a strategy used in one context was unaffected by knowledge demonstrably present in other contexts, suggesting that knowledge partitioning in categorization can be complete.
Journal of Experimental Psychology-learning Memory and Cognition - J EXP PSYCHOL-LEARN MEM COGN , vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 663-679