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Lecture 1

PSYCH 1X03 Lecture 1: Categories and Concepts
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
Joe Kim
Semester
Fall

Description
Categories and Concepts Module Notes Four Functions of Categorization 1. Allows you to treat objects that appear differently as belonging together a. E.g. Differently coloured apples are still all apples 2. Understanding 3. Predicting a. By categorizing your current experience and comparing it to similar expe- riences in memory, you can make predictions about your current situation 4. Communication a. Many of the words in our language refer to some type of category or con- cept (e.g. furniture, cat, sport, or classroom) b. Using the category name allows for efficient communication The Illusion of the Expert • Experts assume a task is simple because it was easy fro them to complete it • In fact, categorization is very complex! Rules • Categorization involves developing rules for inclusion and exclusion criteria re- garding the category • Sometimes rules aren’t specific enough though • Psychologists think that humans have an internal representation of categories that is independent of the rules we try to define Prototype Theory • Suggests that we store one internal average (prototype) of a category that is com- pared to a new experience to determine category membership • Prototypes are thought to be the average, or “best” member of a category • Prototypes are formed through experience and can be very personal because all the objects you’ve previously encountered are averaged together • Evidence for: o In an experiment, subjects were asked to confirmed whether a series of statements were true or not. To statements like “a robin is a bird”, subjects responded very quickly. However, when asked to verify the statement “A penguin is a bird” subjects responded significantly slower. o This suggests that more typical category members, who are likely closer to the prototype, are categorized more quickly and easily than are atypical category members. • Evidence against: o When asked their prototype for a particular category, people will likely respond with a different prototype each time. If we are indeed comparing
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