Chairs are pretty similar to one another sharing a lot of features legs a seat

Chairs are pretty similar to one another sharing a

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lot of features (legs, a seat, a back, similar size and shape);they also don’t share that many features with other furniture.Superordinate categories are not as useful because theirmembers are not very similar to one another. What featuresare common to most furniture? There are very few.Subordinate categories are not as useful, because they’revery similar to other categories: Desk chairs are quite similarto dining room chairs and easy chairs. As a result, it can bedifficult to decide which subordinate category an object is in(Murphy & Brownell, 1985). Experts can differ from novices inwhich categories are the most differentiated, because theyknow different things about the categories, thereforechanging how similar the categories are.[1] This is a controversial claim, as some say thatinfants learn superordinates before anything else(Mandler, 2004). However, if true, then it is very
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puzzling that older children have great difficultylearning the correct meaning of words forsuperordinates, as well as in learning artificialsuperordinate categories (Horton & Markman, 1980;Mervis, 1987). However, it seems fair to say that theanswer to this question is not yet fully known.Theories of Concept RepresentationNow that we know these facts about the psychology ofconcepts, the question arises of how concepts are mentallyrepresented. There have been two main answers. The first,somewhat confusingly called the prototype theorysuggeststhat people have a summary representationof the category,a mental description that is meant to apply to the categoryas a whole. (The significance of summarywill becomeapparent when the next theory is described.) This descriptioncan be represented as a set of weighted features(Smith & Medin, 1981). The features are weighted by theirfrequency in the category. For the category of birds, havingwings and feathers would have a very high weight; eatingworms would have a lower weight; living in Antarctica wouldhave a lower weight still, but not zero, as some birds do livethere.The idea behind prototype theory is that when you learn a
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If you were asked, “What kind of animal is this?” accordingto prototype theory, you would consult your summaryrepresentations of different categories and then select theone that is most similar to this image—probably a lizard![Image: Adhi Rachdian, , CC BY 2.0,]category, you learn a general description that applies to thecategory as a whole: Birds have wings and usually fly; someeat worms; some swim underwater to catch fish. People canstate these generalizations, and sometimes we learn aboutcategories by reading or hearing such statements (“Thekimodo dragon can grow to be 10 feet long”).When you try toclassify an item, you see how well it matches that weightedlist of features. For example, if you saw something with wingsand feathers fly onto your front lawn and eat a worm, youcould (unconsciously) consult your concepts and see whichones contained the features you observed. This examplepossesses many of the highly weighted bird features, and soit should be easy to identify as a bird.This theory readily
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