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CHAPTER 6 Psych 211

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University of Waterloo
Chris Burris

CHAPTER 6 : CONCEPTS, CATEGORIES, AND ESSENCES PERCEPTUAL CATEGORIES *WHAT YOU PERCEIVE THE WORLS IS NOT THE WORLD IT ACTUALLY IS, YOUR BRAIN CONSTRUCTS YOUR PERCEPTION  Acoustic Signal vs. What you hear - Acoustic signal (the sound your teacher is producing when he’s speaking) is different from what you actually hear - The ‘p’ in apple and the ‘p’ in potato Has different acoustic signals - “the illusion of the man saying baba or gaga” – mcguruc effect - The acoustic signal of the man is not identical to what you hear because you’re hearing two different things depending on whether your eyes is close or open CATEGORICAL PERCEPTION  PERCEPTUAL INFORMATION - e.g. it’s brown, has a tail, it’s a dog  Categorical Perception - When you perceive, you perceive things in categories  Process of Language Acquisition – speech perception - Voice onset time - you are vibrating these vocal cords when you are making the sound - Ba or Pa - This means that the differences in the sound of BA or PA is a big difference in your brain but not in the computer - Your brain is perceiving a huge change CONCEPTS AND CATEGORIES  Your thought is made up of a picture, or words, or neither  You can talk about what thoughts are made up for  The constituents / things that make up your thoughts is called concepts  Why Concepts not equal to words every time: - Animals and infants “there’s food in there, maybe I want foods –crow” o Show babies repeating cats, they’re bored/habituate. show them dogs, they responded/ not bored – they have a category for cats and dogs but they don’t have words o Sometimes you have thoughts to words you can’t say - Things we don’t have for - “Didn’t say what I mean” WHAT ARE CONCEPTS FOR?  Inductive inference o e.g.: you know that the sun will rise tomorrow but you haven’t proved it, it’ just because it happens every time o e.g.; I think that this lobster is going to be red because pretty much all lobsters are red o a simple version of inductive inference o it lets you identify dogs as dogs; it lets you think about particular dogs; view different dogs as being similar with one another, treat dogs different from cats o Deductive inference  you connect experiences  e.g.: an animal in a jungle (first animal) hisses, the second animal you see hisses, you’ll expect that the third animal will hiss as well  MORE INSTINCT BLINDNESS - We usually don’t know what things are  SOME KINDS OF CONCEPTS  Nominal kinds- categories that we kinda invent; e.g.: bachelor 9we invent such terminology)  Natural kinds – for things in people w/o nature – trees, dogs, etc.; these are natural categories  Artifact kinds- any human made thing; e.g.: chairs are artifacts, board as well  WHAT ARE CONCEPTS? o General assumption:  Concept = packet of knowledge  Concept of dogs= knowledge of dogs  Having this knowledge allow you to identify dogs, think about dogs.  DIFFERENT THEORIES OF CONCEPTS: o FISRT THEORY: Classic View of concepts or dictionary view of concepts  For you to have a concept, You have to have a definition  In classical concepts: “If the only way you can think about of chair is having a concept of chair, then whatever that has the accompanied definition will be a chair.”  Then the definition will decide if it is a chair or not.  Necessary and sufficient features (definitions) of that thing – you need that feature to be that thing  So no indeterminate cases – no “only sort of” that thing  Apply to all members (e.g.: all dogs)  These are believed by Piaget and Vygotsky  But they both claimed that this concept is not exactly true for children  Because they both viewed children as moving from reliance on perceptual features to more abstract ones  Characteristics-to-Defining Features Shift (just an empirical phenomena that supports Vygotski and Piaget)  Characteristic features vs. Defining features  Consider aunts and uncles  Defining features – whatever the definition of the thing is  Characteristics features – features that are very typical but are not defining (e.g.: an island that is alone and surrounded with ice- this has the defining features of island but not the characteristics features)  In the slide example – it has a characteristics features but lacks defining features, 4 y/o thinks that it’s a museum  4 year olds do not define on the defining features but instead relies in the characteristics features (which are perceptual or the things that they see)  General Findings: o Younger children rely on characteristics features and overlook defining features o Older children rely on defining features, and overlook characteristics features o No single age for this shift  Problem for Classical View  Can you give definition for verbs (i.e. painting)? o It’s very hard to actually define such terms  Wittgenstein * - there’s a lot of features that all games share and don’t share o SECOND THEORY: FAMILY RSEEMBLANCES AND PROTOTYPES  There are features common/ overlapping to each other with the same groups  Prototypes  If the members of a group have partially overlapping features  Some members will share many features with other members; some members will share few features  No features are necessary or sufficient (for being a dog, for example)  E.g.: the MOA bird doesn’t have wings (don’t share such feature to other birds) but is still considered as birds  Items that are in the center or has many features of a group is called prototypical  For more Prototypical item: o Rates as more typical o Faster to affirm category membership (judging whether robin/ ostrich is a bird) o Faster for prototypical ones, slower for less prototypical ones  TAXONOMIC HEIRARCHIES/ CATEGORY HEIRARCHIES o Think about the concept furniture  E.g.: The highest is Furniture, next are tables and chairs, under are the types of tables and chairs  Different levels: general levels (furniture), basic levels (table, chairs), subordinate level (types of tables and chairs)  We often use basic levels in language  Kids usually learn first: basic level (i.e. tree, dog, cat)  Why do we always use the basic level? Because at the basic level, you’re being maximally informative (e.g.: I’m walking down the street and I saw an animal – NOT INFORMATIVE; today, I see a bird – INFORMATIVE)  Two Relevant Findings (kno
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