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Flashcards in Chapter 9 Deck (46):

anterior temporal lobe

(ATL) area in the temporal love. Damage to the ATL has been connected with semantic deficits in dementia patients and with the savant syndrome


back propagation

process by which learning can occur in a connectionist network, in which an error signal is transmitted backwards through the network. This backward-transmitted error signal provides the information needed to adjust the weights in the network to achieve the correct output signal for a stimulus


basic level

in Rosch's categorization scheme, the level below the global (superordinate) level (e.g., "table" or "chair" for the superordinate category "furniture"). According to Rosch, the basic level is psychologically special because it is the level above which much information is lost and below which little is gained



process by which objects are placed in categories



groups of objects that belong together because they belong to the same class of objects, such as "houses", "furniture", or "schools"


category-specific memory impairment

result of brain damage in which the patient has trouble recognizing objects in a specific category


cognitive economy

feature of some semantic network models in which properties of a category that are shared by many members of a category are stored at a higher-level node in the network. For example, the property "can fly" would be stored at the node for "bird" rather than at the node for "canary"



mental representation of a class of individual. Also, the meaning of objects, events, and abstract ideas. An example of a concept would be the way a person mentally represents "cat" or "house".


conceptual knowledge

knowledge that enables people to recognize objects and events and to make inferences about their properties


connection weight

in connectionist models, a connection weight determines the degree to which signals sent from one unit either indrease or decrease the activity of the next unit



network model of mental operation that proposes that concepts are represented in networks that are modeled after neural networks. This approach to describing the mental representation of concepts is also called the parallel distributed processing (PDP) approach


connectionist network

type of network proposed by the connectionist approach to the representation of concepts. Connectionist networks are based on neural networks but are not necessarily identical to them. One of the key properties of a connectionist network is that a specific category is represented by activity that is distributed over many units in the network. This contrasts with semantic networks, in which specific categories are represented ar individual nodes.



animals tend to share many properties, such as eyes, legs, and the ability to move. This is relevant to the multiple-factor approach to the representation of concepts in the brain.


definitional approach to categorization

the idea that we can decide whether something is a member of a category by determining whether the object meets the definition of the category


embodied approach

proposal that our knowledge of concepts is based on reactivation of sensory and motor processes that occur when we interact with an object


error signal

during learning in a connectionist network, the difference between the output signal generated by a particular stimulus and the output that actually represents that stimulus



in categorization, members of a category that a person has experienced in the past


exemplar approach to categorization

the approach to categorization in which members of a category are judged against exemplars - examples of members of the category that the person has encountered in the past


family resemblance

in considering the process of categorization, the idea that things in a particular category resemble each other in a number of ways. This approach can be contrasted with the definitional approach, which states that an object belongs to a category only when it meets a definite set of criteria


global level

the highest level in Rosch's categorization scheme (e.g. "furniture" or "vehicles"


graceful degradation

disruption of performance due to damage to a system that occurs only gradually as parts of the system re damaged. This occurs in some cases of brain damage and also when parts of a connectionist network are damaged


hidden units

units in a connectionist network that are located between input units are output units


hierarchical model

as applied to knowledge representation, a model that consists of levels arranged so that more specific concepts, such as canary or salmon, are at the bottom and more general concepts, such as bird, fish, or animal, are at higher levels


hierarchical organization

organization of categories in which larger, more general categories are divided into smaller, more specific categories. These smaller categories can, in turn, be divided into even more specific categories to create a number of levels


hub and spoke model

model of semantic knowledge that proposes that areas of the brain that are associated with different functions are connected to the anterior temporal lobe, which integrates information from these areas


input units

units in a connectionist network that are activated by stimulation from the environment


lexical decision task

procedure in which a person is asked to decide as quickly as possible whether a particular stimulus is a word or a nonword


mirror neurons

neurons in the premotor cortex, originally discovered in the monkey, that respond both when a monkey observes someone else (usually the experimenter) carrying out an action and when the monkey itself carries out the action. there is also evidence for mirror neurons in humans


multiple-factor approach

seeking to describe how concepts are represented in the brain by searching for multiple factors that determine how concepts are divided up within a category


output units

units in a connectionist network that contain the final output of the network


parallel distribution processing (PDP)

see connectionism; connectionist network



a standard used in categorization that is fromed by averaging the category members a person has encountered in the past


prototype approach to categorization

the idea that we decide whether something is a member of a category by determining whether it is similar to a standard representation of the category, called a prototype


semantic category approach

an approach to describing how semantic information is represented in the brain that proposes that there are specific neural circuits for some specific categories


semantic dementia

condition in which there is a general loss of knowledge for all concepts


semantic network approach

an approach to understanding how concepts are organized in the mind that proposes that concepts are arranged in networks


semantic somatotopy

correspondence between words related to specific parts of the body and the location of brain activity associated with that part of the body


sensory-function (S-F) hypothesis

explanation of how semantic information is represented in the brain tha states that the ability to differentiate living things and artifacts depend on one system that distinguishes sensory attributes and another system that distinguishes function


sentence verification technique

a technique in which the participant is asked to indicate whether a particular sentence is true or false. For example, sentences like "an apple is a fruit" have been used in studies on categorization


specific levels

in Rosch's categorization scheme, the level below the basic level (e.g. "kitchen table" for the basic category "table")


spreading activation

activity that spreads out along any link in a semantic network that is connected to an activated node.


subordinate (specific) level

the most specific category level distinguished by Rosch - for example, "kitchen table"


superordinate (global) level

the most general category level distinguished by Rosch - for example, "furniture"


transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

a procedure in which magnetic pulses are applied to the skull in order to illustrate the process involved in means-end analysis


typicality effect

the ability to judge the truth or falsity of sentences involving high-prototypical members of a category more rapidly than sentences involving low-prototypical members of a category


unit (in a connectionist network)

"neuronlike processing units" in a connectionist network