Embodied Cognition - Cognitive Science and Linguistics - Prototypes


Prototypes are "typical" members of a category, e.g. a robin is a prototypical bird, but a penguin is not. The role of prototypes in human cognition was first identified and studied by Eleanor Rosch in the 1970s. She was able to show that prototypical objects are more easily categorized than non-prototypical objects, and that people answered questions about a category as a whole by reasoning about a prototype. She also identified basic level categories: categories that have prototypes that are easily visualized (such as a chair) and are associated with basic physical motions (such as "sitting"). Prototypes of basic level categories are used to reason about more general categories.

Prototype theory has been used to explain human performance on many different cognitive tasks and in a large variety of domains. George Lakoff argues that prototype theory shows that the categories that people use are based on our experience of having a body and have no resemblance to logical classes or types. For Lakoff, this shows that traditional objectivist accounts of truth can not be correct.

Read more about this topic:  Embodied Cognition, Cognitive Science and Linguistics

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Famous quotes containing the word prototypes:

    As our domestic fowls are said to have their original in the wild pheasant of India, so our domestic thoughts have their prototypes in the thoughts of her philosophers.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)