PSYC 213 - Chapter 8

PSYC 213 - Chapter 8 - Amir Ben Shabat Chapter 8 Knowledge...

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Amir Ben Shabat Chapter 8 - Knowledge – pg. 283-299 Ex: As you walk down the street, you notice there are many things that are not exactly the same as what you would encounter if you were in your own town. On the other hand, there are a lot of things that seem familiar. You know a lot about the various components of this street scene, because your mind is full of concepts. Concepts: A concept is a mental representation that is used for a variety of cognitive functions, including memory, reasoning, and using and understanding language. -By far the most commonly studied function of concepts is categorisation: a process by which things are placed in groups called categories. Ex: when you see vehicles in the street you can place them into categories such as cars, SUVs etc. - This chapter is devoted to describing two approaches to categorization. Categories are Essential, But Definitions don’t Work -Categories are tools that are essential for the understanding of the world. Why Categories are Useful -One of the most important functions of categories is to help us to understand individual cases we have never seen before. Ex: Being able to say that the furry animal across the street is a “cat” provides a great deal of information about it. - Categories have been called therefore “pointers to knowledge”. - Categories not only provide information about the basic properties of things that belong to that category, but also serve as a valuable tool for making inferences about things that belong to other categories. Ex: If we know that field mice are stricken by a particular disease, we might infer that there is a good chance that other rodents, especially those most closely related to field mice, may be carrying the disease as well. - Being able to place things in categories can also help us understand behaviours that we might otherwise find baffling. Why Definitions don’t work for Categories - According to the definitional approach to categories , we can decide whether something is a member of a category by determining whether a particular object meets the definition of the category. - The problem is that not all members of everyday categories have the same features. - Wittgenstein proposed the idea of family resemblance to deal with the fact that definitions often don’t include all members of a category. Family resemblance: refers to the fact that things in a particular category resemble one another in a number of ways.
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- Thus, instead of setting definite criteria that every member of a category must meet, the family resemblance approach allows for some variation within a category. - The definitional approach to categorization is based on determining whether the properties of a particular object match a definition. Determining Categories by Similarity: Using Prototypes or Exemplars
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2011 for the course PSYC 213 taught by Professor Levitin during the Winter '08 term at McGill.

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PSYC 213 - Chapter 8 - Amir Ben Shabat Chapter 8 Knowledge...

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