Thinking & Concepts


Topic: Thinking & Concepts

Posted by: Tom

Key Terms:

  • cognition: the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating
  • concept: a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people
  • prototype: A mental image or best example of a category – matching new items to the prototype provided a quick and easy method for including items in a category

Summary:

Thinking
Thinking
Thinking, or cognition, refers to all the mental activities associated with processing, understanding, remembering, and communictating. Our cognitive system receives, perceives, and retrieves information, which we use to think and communicate. As we think, we form concepts that organize our world, we solve problems, and we make efficient decisions and judgements.

Concepts
We think about different events, people, and objects continuously, which we do so by simplifying things. We form concepts, a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people, to simplify and order the world .
For example, the concept "animal" sums up a variety of living things. Without the grouping, we would be confused what bears, cats, and dogs are or don't even recognize that they are related things. Because we have the established name for the assignments we have to painfully get done every night, we know what to hand in when Mr. Izzy says, "pass the HW forward, I'm too cool to collect it myself."
We simplify things further by organizing things into a hierarchy of categories. An example is the concept of the "animal kingdom." As such, Mr.Izzy's favorite animal the CAT, in scientific classification would be:cat-sup

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. catus

We also use prototypes
, A mental image or best example of a category – matching new items to the prootype provided a quick and easy method for including items in a category, to form our concepts. The more closely something matches our prototype of a concept, the more readily we recognize it as an example of the concept.

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