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Cognition. 2013 May;127(2):242-57. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.01.005. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Dual character concepts and the normative dimension of conceptual representation.

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  • 1Program in Cognitive Science, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8306, USA. joshua.knobe@yale.edu

Abstract

Five experiments provide evidence for a class of 'dual character concepts.' Dual character concepts characterize their members in terms of both (a) a set of concrete features and (b) the abstract values that these features serve to realize. As such, these concepts provide two bases for evaluating category members and two different criteria for category membership. Experiment 1 provides support for the notion that dual character concepts have two bases for evaluation. Experiments 2-4 explore the claim that dual character concepts have two different criteria for category membership. The results show that when an object possesses the appropriate concrete features, but does not fulfill the appropriate abstract value, it is judged to be a category member in one sense but not in another. Finally, Experiment 5 uses the theory developed here to construct artificial dual character concepts and examines whether participants react to these artificial concepts in the same way as naturally occurring dual character concepts. The present studies serve to define the nature of dual character concepts and distinguish them from other types of concepts (e.g., natural kind concepts), which share some, but not all of the properties of dual character concepts. More broadly, these phenomena suggest a normative dimension in everyday conceptual representation.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
23454798
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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