PSYC 256 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Episodic Memory, Spreading Activation, Subset

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13 Jun 2018
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Unit 3 (Includes 16-22)
CONCEPTS & GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
Semantic Memory
A mental thesaurus, organized knowledge a person possesses about words and
other verbal symbols, their meanings and referents, about relations among them,
and about rules, formulas, and algorithms for the manipulation of the symbols,
concepts, and relations.
Concept Formation
Traditional research on concept formation
o Show S a series of arbitrary patterns
o S determines which patterns belong or do not belong to a given
category/concept
Know which factors influence performance but do not know how these effects relate
to real world concepts
Common Concepts
Categories that occur in the real world of our experience
o Have a complex internal structure
o Well established in memory
Abstract knowledge, not episodic
1. Car
2. Train
3. Tractor
4. Elevator
5. Sled
1. Pants
2. Pajamas
3. Jacket
4. Mittens
5. Necklace
1. Orange
2. Pear
3. Grapefruit
4. Honeydew
5. Olive
Prototype Theory
Categories are organized around a prototype: best exemplar
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o Does not need to exist
Items are related by family resemblance
Solso & McCarthy (1981)
o Participants were shown a series of faces
o Later, a recognition test was given with some old faces, a prototype face, and
some new faces that differed in degree from prototype
The more similar to prototype it is, the more likely people confidently recognize it
(old, new, and prototype face)
o
The more characteristic features an object has, the more likely we are to believe it is
part of the category
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