Document Detail

The real deal: What judgments of really reveal about how people think about artifacts.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23138566     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
It is widely assumed that artifacts fall into distinct kinds. These kinds are generally identified by appeal to words-chair versus stool versus bowl versus vase, and so on. But contextual and cross-linguistic variation in what artifacts are grouped together by name raise questions about whether artifacts indeed do fall into fixed kinds. Can judgments of what artifacts really are reveal a true kind membership, distinct from what the objects are called in communicative contexts? In two experiments, we examined what drives judgments of what an artifact really is and what these judgments can tell us about how people think about artifacts. In both experiments, we found that people failed to treat artifacts as having a definitive kind membership in their judgments of what the artifacts really were. Instead, really judgments reflected the typicality of objects with respect to the things normally called by the queried name. If these judgments are taken as direct evidence about the existence of artifact kinds, the outcome argues against such kinds. Alternatively, really judgments themselves may be fundamentally linguistic in nature, and so unable to tap into underlying kind memberships. In either case, if such kinds exist, they remain to be found. A more likely reality may be that intuitions about the existence of artifact kinds reflect the partial clustering of objects in similarity space, plus the fact that each language provides names for some constellations of objects in that space.
Barbara C Malt; Michael R Paquet
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-11-9
Journal Detail:
Title:  Memory & cognition     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1532-5946     ISO Abbreviation:  Mem Cognit     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-9     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0357443     Medline TA:  Mem Cognit     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Psychology, 17 Memorial Drive East, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 18015, USA,
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