Friday, September 19, 2008

Prototypical Podcast


Eleanor Rosch seems to have come out of semi-retirement and is teaching a new course at Berkeley on Buddhist psychology, complete with podcasts here.

Reading Rosch in graduate school was a transformative experience fort me. Her empirical work on cognition and prototype theory changed many of my ill-formed preconceived notions about how the mind works. She created clever and intelligent methods for studying how humans naturally categorize. Her findings were astonishing.

From The U. Pitt School of Information Science - Hall of Fame: "A basic tenet demonstrated by Rosch's experiments is that people classify an everyday object or experience less on abstract definitions than on what they regard as the best representation of the appropriate category. For example, a robin is considered a much better prototype for the concept of a bird than is a chicken or an ostrich. Her findings led Rosch to develop a hierarchy of basic, superordinate, and subordinate categories that "provide maximum information with the least congitive ability."

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