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Psychophysical and cognitive aspects of categorical perception: A critical overview

Harnad, Stevan (1987) Psychophysical and cognitive aspects of categorical perception: A critical overview. [Book Chapter]

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Abstract

Categorization is a very basic cognitive activity. It is involved in any task that calls for differential responding, from operant discrimination to pattern recognition to naming and describing objects and states-of-affairs. Explanations of categorization range from nativist theories denying that any nontrivial categories are acquired by learning to inductivist theories claiming that most categories are learned. "Categorical perception" (CP) is the name given to a suggestive perceptual phenomenon that may serve as a useful model for categorization in general: For certain perceptual categories, within-category differences look much smaller than between-category differences even when they are of the same size physically. For example, in color perception, differences between reds and differences between yellows look much smaller than equal-sized differences that cross the red/yellow boundary; the same is true of the phoneme categories /ba/ and /da/. Indeed, the effect of the category boundary is not merely quantitative, but qualitative.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:categorical perception, psychophysics, adaptation level theory, event-related potentials, color perception, phoneme perception, perceptual learning, similarity judgment
Subjects:Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Psychophysics
ID Code:1571
Deposited By:Harnad, Stevan
Deposited On:18 Jun 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

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