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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 250
Tanya Broesch

Chapter 6: Concepts, Categories, Essences February-19-13 2:32 PM Midterm Information • 50 Multiple choice and 1 essay question (10pt) • Wont ask about obscure small details Chapter 6 • Focuses on concepts Concepts • What are concepts? General ideas or understandings that can be used to group together objects event qualities or abstraction that are similar in some way • 3 components of a concept: 1. set of items included 2. phenomena involving members of the set 3. casual relationships that apply within the set but not to other sets Why are they useful ? • Used to organize the world • Psychological grouping enables us to divide up our experiences to help us navigate through the world --> way to bring previous knowledge and apply to new experiences • Categories and concepts o Predictive power • Categories are functional o Adult categories are functional How do we develop concepts of: • Self/others • Living things • Space(where) • Causality (why) • Time (when) • Number(how many) Where do concepts come from? • Experience can shape categories and how you see the world • Innate (evolutionary perspective) o Eg. Natural kinds o Evidence: uniformity in concepts across cultures • Experience(sociocultural) What are categories? • A mentally represented collection of entities (e.g. objects, people actions or events) • Perceptual category o An implicit classification of perceptual stimuli into discrete sets despite a lack of physical discontinuity in the stimuli(e.g. colours, facial expressions) o Color blue is implicit not explicit o Colours are not categories. Colour is seen as one category • Perceptual category(emotion) o Facial expression--> typical happy emotion is a smile o e.g. of the study done in fiji, somoa, vanuatu o Evident that fiji better at presenting happy Conclusion Universality Initial recall - poison errors • Evolutionary predisposition to focus on dangerous stimuli • Danger more likely to be remembered than any other characteristic, followed by poison • Bottom line: children make an early distinction between animals, their predators and prey Forming Categories • Classic view o Have a definition for a category o Focused only on necessary and sufficient features • Prototype view o Picture a fruit --> most likely pictured an apple orange or banana than a watermelon o Something is more likely to be a prototype because it shares features with other members in that category o Le
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