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Psychology Web Module Notes- Categories and Concepts.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
Joe Kim
Semester
Fall

Description
Psychology Web Module Notes Categories and Concepts  Your interactions with the world are flooded with colours, shapes, textures, smells, tastes and sounds, and yet you are still able to make sense of it all and take appropriate action.  What allows us to do this is caused by 2 cognitive mechanisms: attention (which helps you to focus finite mental resources on key parts of the active scene) and memory (which can help you recall specific behaviours which are appropriate to your current needs).  As well as your cognitive ability to put people, objects and ideas into categories and concepts helps you to efficiently process through the incoming data blitz and make appropriate responses. Functions of Categorization  4 basic functions: classification, understanding, predicting and communication.  Classification- allows you to treat objects that appear differently as belonging together.  Example: green apples, red apples and yellow apples can appear different on a colour dimension, but by classifying them all as ‘apples’ you can treat them similarly and assume that they are safe to eat.  Understanding- being able to interpret situations by categorization  Example: the scene in front of us we see as 2 people shouting, we immediately understand that they are probably in a fight and likely do not need your opinion.  Predicting- by categorizing your current experience and comparing it to similar experiences in memory, you can make predictions about your current situation.  Example: if you know that the creature in front of you is a dog, you can predict that it would like to be scratched behind its ears.  Communication- using the category name allows for efficient communication; many words in our language refer to some type of category or concept. Illusion of the Expert  The feeling that something must be simple because you are so good at it  Categorization is a very complex field with a number of conflicting theories seeking to explain the ease with which humans are able to categorize.  For simple categorization, we are quite susceptible to the illusion of the expert; it is easy for us, so it must have a simple rule.  But if you consider the more complex categories like fruit and furniture, you can see that the number of people who can identify a simple categorization rule decreases.  However, making rules to categorize certain objects and being sure to exclude others, is a lot harder than you think! Prototype Theory  Suggests that we categorize objects by comparing them to an internal representation of the category called a prototype.  Prototypes- are thought to be the average, or ‘best’ member of a category.  Example: perhaps you picture a bird, it may have l
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