The “basic level”, according to experiments in cognitive psychology, is the level of abstraction in a hierarchy of concepts at which humans perform tasks quicker and with greater accuracy than at other levels. We argue that applications that use concept hierarchies could improve their user interfaces if they ‘knew’ which concepts are the basic level concepts. This paper examines to what extent the basic level can be learned from data. We test the utility of three types of concept features, that were inspired by the basic level theory: lexical features, structural features and frequency features. We evaluate our approach on WordNet, and create a training set of manually labelled examples from different part of WordNet. Our findings include that the basic level concepts can be accurately identified within one domain. Concepts that are difficult to label for humans are also harder to classify automatically. Our experiments provide insight into how classification performance across different parts of the hierarchy could be improved, which is necessary for identification of basic level concepts on a larger scale.

International Conference on Metadata and Semantics Research
Human-centered Data Analysis

Hollink, L, Bilgin, A, & van Ossenbruggen, J.R. (2020). Predicting the basic level in a hierarchy of concepts. In Proceedings of the Metadata and Semantics Research Conference.