Prototype Theory can explain simple categorization better than Exemplar Theory Prototypes explain categorization of relatively simple objects and situations better than exemplar theory The Development of Categorization Young children can understand and generalize categories Evidence to suggest that children young as 3 are able to understand general categories Teach kid about fact about her pet dog then kid will generalize that new fact to different dogs, even if they don’t look exactly similar to his/her own Gives evidence that kids understand something about category membership – members of the same categories share similar characteristics Children can understand hypothetical categorization as well If you fix up toaster so that it doesn’t leak and can keep liquids warm and you give it a spout, you could perhaps theoretically turn it into a teapot Suppose u present following question to children…”if I took a toaster, plugged up all of its holes, put a container in it and put a spout o the side, do you think I could make a teapot?” o the child might look at you like you are being ridiculous Children have an understanding of the innate properties of a category “if I were to take a racoon, paint it all black with a white stripe down its back, and give it a spray bottle that squirts a smelly liquid, can I turn that racoon into a skunk?” this time child may not agree that this is possible why do children give a different response to hypothetical problems involving machines and animals? o Children are able to understand something about the innate properties of a given category o In this case you can usually change the nature of a machine but you can’t change the nature of an animal Our understanding of categorization in children is limited
Children have literature describing what children can and cannot do at particular ages, and this information may help us understand how categorization functions throughout the lifespan Animal Categorization Baboons can be taught to classify objects with high accuracy Research examined the ability of baboons to understand and use complex categories Experiment 1: using instrumental conditioning procedures, scientists taught baboons to classify objects as being either ‘food’ or ‘non-food’. The baboons learned this from distinction relatively quickly, and were eventually able to categorize new objects into these categories with 90% accuracy Baboons can also be taught to classify using more abstract rules Researchers than moved onto more difficult challenge Baboons had to identify whether or not two items belonged to abstract categories of Same or Different Two food items were presented; they should be categorized as being in the same category If food and non-food item were presented, they should be categorized as being in different categories On trial in which baboon was presented with a banana and an apple, the correct answer
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- Winter '14
- prototype theory, Categorization, Exemplar Theory