The Big Book of Concepts

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Concepts embody our knowledge of the kinds of things there are in the world. Tying our past experiences to our present interactions with the environment,they enable us to recognize and understand new objects and events. Concepts are also relevant to understanding domains such as social situations, personality types, and even artistic styles. Yet like other phenomenologically simple cognitive processes such as walking or understanding speech, concept formation and use are maddeningly complex.

Research since the 1970s and the decline of the "classical view" of concepts have greatly illuminated the psychology of concepts.

But persistent theoretical disputes have sometimes obscured this progress.

The Big Book of Concepts goes beyond those disputes to reveal the advances that have been made, focusing on the major empirical discoveries. By reviewing and evaluating research on diverse topics such as category learning, word meaning, conceptual development in infants and children, and the basic level of categorization, the book develops a much broader range of criteria than is usual for evaluating theories of concepts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is going to be the classic text in the field for a very long time."Nature
This is going to be the classic text in the field for a very long time.

This is going to be the classic text in the field for a very long time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262632997
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 568
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory L. Murphy is Professor of Psychology at New York University.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Typicality and the Classical View of Categories 11
3 Theories 41
Appendix: The Generalized Context Model 65
4 Exemplar Effects and Theories 73
5 Miscellaneous Learning Topics 115
6 Knowledge Effects 141
7 Taxonomic Organization and the Basic Level of Concepts 199
8 Induction 243
9 Concepts in Infancy 271
10 Conceptual Development 317
11 Word Meaning 385
12 Conceptual Combination 443
13 Anti-Summary and Conclusions 477
Notes 499
References 519
Name Index 547
Subject Index 553
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 15, 2014

    Great book- but a bit dated and biased.

    This text makes the overwhelming world of the psychological study of concepts and category accessible to individuals outside of the field and I would certainly recommend it on those grounds. In the ten years since the book's publication, however, there have been some advances in the field, so perhaps an update is in order!

    Side note: Dr. Murphy spends much of this text ignoring or outright dismissing the Classical Theory of concepts, perhaps erroneously.

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