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TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences Vol.5 No.5 May 2001 http://tics.trends.com 1364-6613/01/$ see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S1364-6613(00)01624-7
 

Summary: TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences Vol.5 No.5 May 2001
http://tics.trends.com 1364-6613/01/$ see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S1364-6613(00)01624-7
204 OpinionOpinion
Is the plant edible or poisonous? Is the person friend
or foe? Was the sound made by a predator or by the
wind?All organisms assign objects and events in the
environment to separate classes or categories. This
allows them to respond differently, for example, to
nutrients and poisons, and to predators and prey.
Any species that lacked this ability would quickly
become extinct1.
Until just a few years ago, categorization was
treated like the familiar black box that is, little, if
anything, was known about how the brain performs
this vitally important skill. Instead, competing
theories tried to account for observable categorization
behavior by postulating hypothetical intervening
processes. Because these were unobservable, they
could not be used to test the competing theories.As a
consequence, several theories were developed that

  

Source: Ashby, F. Gregory - Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences