chapter08[2] - Chapter 8 Cognition and Language Cognition...

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Chapter 8 Cognition and Language
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Cognition and Language Cognition refers to thinking, gaining knowledge, and dealing with knowledge. Language is intimately related to the activities of cognition.
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Cognitive Psychology Cognitive psychologists study how people think, acquire knowledge, what they know, what they imagine and how they solve problems. Cognitive psychology uses a variety of methods to measure mental processes and test theories about what we know and how we know it.
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Cognitive psychologists add to our knowledge of how the mind works even via what appear to be errors (more later): story: Sally, Johnny, the frog, and Mary
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Categorization The formation of categories or concepts is one of the primary ways that we organize information about our world. In general we categorize people, objects or events together when they have important qualities in common. There are a number of ways to categorize.
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Categorization Prototypes A prototype is a familiar or typical example of a category. By using prototypes, we decide whether or not an object belongs in a category by determining how closely it resembles the prototypical members of the category
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Categorization Prototypes We use a ROSE as a prototypical flower. Daisy and tulip resemble it closely enough that you would quickly agree that they belong in the same category. What about the “corpse flower” – which has a blossom that is not colorful and has a terrible fragrance? Although you would also classify it as a flower, you would pause because it doesn’t resemble the prototype in some important ways. A cognitive psychologist, for example, measures this pause (reaction time).
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Categorization Prototypes The prototype approach suggests that membership in a category may be a matter of degrees, not a yes-or-no question. Prototypes are harder to apply to certain categories. We can discuss a category without having an existing example of its members. Try to think of a prototypical “rare insect.” Do we require a prototype to discuss or think about “extinct amphibians?”
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(left) A partial chart of the current scientific classification of the animal kingdom. Categorization by levels (right) An alleged listing from an ancient Chinese encyclopedia. The point is that some methods of categorizing (e.g., on paper) are possible but NOT likely the way the mind categorizes.
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Categorization Cross-Cultural Studies of Concepts We tend to assume that everyone in the world forms categories the same way, but this is not correct. Words for colors vary among world languages. The Dani people of New Zealand have no words for colors at all – just “light” and “dark.”
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Categorization Categorization by Levels We have a hierarchy in mind of categories and subcategories. The upper levels of the hierarchy are the more
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2011 for the course PSYCHLOGY 830 taught by Professor Jacobs during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.

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chapter08[2] - Chapter 8 Cognition and Language Cognition...

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