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Chapter 8

Chapter 8-psy270.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Gillian Rowe

Chapter 8 (Knowledge)  categorization – process in which things are placed into groups (categories)  concept – mental representation of categories  categories are useful:  they are “pointers to knowledge” – once you know something is in the category, you know a lot of general things about it and can focus on what’s special about it  you can explain behaviour – football fan example  no categories investigate each object individually  definitional approach  something is a part of a category if it meets the definition of the category  works well for geometrical objects  problem not all members have the same features  chars are “piece of furniture with seat, legs and arms” there are many chairs that don’t correspond to the definition  family resemblance – things in a particular category resemble each other in a number of ways, allows some variation within a category  chairs may come in different sizes and shapes but resemble each other in some ways Determining category by similarity  prototype approach – something belongs to the category if its similar to the prototype  prototype – averaging category members we have encountered in the past  high prototypicality – category member closely resembles the category prototype  sparrows and blue jays are good examples of birds  low prototypicality – category member does not resemble the category prototype  penguins and bats are poor examples of birds  objects that have high prototypicality have high family resemblance  char and sofa have many characteristics that overlaphigh family resemblance  participants respond faster for objects high in prototypicality (typicality effect – ability to judge highly prototypical objects more rapidly)  1. an apple is a fruit; 2. pomegranate is a fruit  prototypical objects are named first  sparrows are named before penguins  prototypical objects are affected more by priming  participants heard the prime, which was the name of colour, green, then were presented with 1. colours that were the same and were good colours (two greens); 2. colours that were the same and were poor greens (light greens); 3. colors that were different ( red and blue) – people were asked to judge as fast as possible if the two colors were the same people were faster at judging two good greens the same than light greens  participants create images of good prototypes in response to color names  exemplar approach – something belongs to the category if its similar to the exemplar  exemplar – actual members of the category that have been encountered in the past  explains typicality effect objects that are more like exemplars are classified faster  advantage – takes into account atypical cases, like flightless birds; takes into account individual cases atypical objects are used as exemplars rather than being lost in the average  people use both approaches  we use prototypes early in life (poor at taking into account exceptions); later use exemplars  exemplars work best for small categories (US presidents); prototypes for large categories (birds) Levels of categories  hierarchal organization – larger, more general categories are divided into smaller, more specific categories  three kinds of categories: 1. highest level – superordinate level – furniture 2. middle level – intermediate level or basic – table 3. lowest level – subordinate level – kitchen table
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