Psychophysical and cognitive aspects of categorical perception: A critical overview.
Harnad, Stevan (ed.)
Categorical Perception: The Groundwork of Cognition
Cambridge University Press.
ABSTRACT: Categorization is a very basic cognitive activity. It is involved in any task that calls for differential responding, from operant discrimination to pattern recognition to naming and describing objects and states-of-affairs. Explanations of categorization range from nativist theories denying that any nontrivial categories are acquired by learning to inductivist theories claiming that most categories are learned. "Categorical perception" (CP) is the name given to a suggestive perceptual phenomenon that may serve as a useful model for categorization in general: For certain perceptual categories, within-category differences look much smaller than between-category differences even when they are of the same size physically. For example, in color perception, differences between reds and differences between yellows look much smaller than equal-sized differences that cross the red/yellow boundary; the same is true of the phoneme categories /ba/ and /da/. Indeed, the effect of the category boundary is not merely quantitative, but qualitative.
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