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Chapter Final

PSYA01 Chapter 8 Exam Notes

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Steve Joordens

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Psychological ScienceChapter 8 Thought and Language81 The Organization of KnowledgeA concept is the mental representation of an object event or ideaoThere are very few independent concepts You do not have just one concept for chair table or sofa Each of these concepts can be divided into smaller groups with more precise labels such as arm chair or coffee table Similarly all of these items can be lumped together as furnitureCategories refer to these clusters of interrelated conceptsoWe form these groups using a process called categorizationClassical categorization is the theory that claims that objects or events are categorized according to a certain set of rules or by a specific set of featuresoGraded membership is the observation that some concepts appear to make better category members than othersoPsychologists have researched classical categorization using a behavioral measure known as the sentenceverification technique where volunteers wait for a sentence to appear in front of them on a computer screen and respond as fast as they can with a yes or no answer to statements such as A sparrow is a bird or A penguin is a bird In most cases subjects almost always answer yes faster to sparrow than to penguin While both are equally good fits for the definition this occurs because sparrows are somehow more birdlike than penguinsPrototypes Categorization by ComparisonoPrototypes are mental representations of an average category memberFor example given a robin a sparrow and a blue jay your prototypical bird would look something like a mixture or the average of all threeoIf you encounter a little creature you have never seen before and its basic shape resembles your prototype of a bird you may classify the creature as a birdoThe main advantage of prototypes is that they help explain why some category members make better examples than others Ostriches are birds just as much as blue jays but they do not resemble the rest of the family very well In other words blue jays are closer to the prototypical birdNetworks and HierarchiesoA semantic network is an interconnected set of nodes or concepts and the links that join them to form a categoryoA Semantic Network Diagram for the Category Animal Figure 83 oNodes are circles that represent concepts and links connect them together to represent the structure of a category as well as the relationships among different categoriesoFigure 83 is arranged in a hierarchythat is it consists of a structure moving from general to very specific This organization helps us understand how categories work in daily thought and language by identifying the basic level category which is located in the middle row of the diagram where the birds and fish are Basic level categories are the terms used most often in conversationThey are the easiest to pronounceThey are the level at which prototypes existThey are the level at which most thinking occursPriming and Semantic NetworksoPriming is the activation of individual concepts in longterm memory1
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