Psych M.D. - Prototype

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March 16, 2009

Term: Prototype
Definition (Myers): A mental image or best example of a category. Matching new items to the prototype provides a quick and easy method for including items in a category (as when comparing feathered creatures to a prototypical bird, such as a robin.)
Definition (alternative): A prototype is the BEST example or cognitive representation of something within a certain category. Prototypes are used to enhance memory and recall, since you can keep a prototype of something and then match new, similar things to the prototype in order to identify, categorize, or store this new thing. *
Contextual explanation: For example, if I ask you to imagine a dog, what do you imagine? You may consider a German Shepard your prototype for a dog by which you compare all other dogs. So if you see another dog, you could say that other dog is small (compared to your prototype), heavy, ugly, beautiful, etc. *
Related terms and concepts:
Psych M.D. - Prototype - The NeuronThis is a prototype of a bird. When we see other birds, we match wat we see to our prototype of bird: big wings, thin legs, tail, etc.
Psych M.D. - Prototype - The NeuronThis bird called kiwi, is also a bird, but it often confuses us because it doesn't exactly fit into our prototype. It has small wings that don't support it to fly.
Related websites:
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1O36-prototypetheory.html
-> Gives connection with Oxford University Press that gives general definiton of prototype.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prototype
-> Provides general prototype categories and characteristics. However later it talks about computer and production designs.
Edited by: Elaine



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