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ERIC Number: ED142044
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: N/A
Cognitive Processes in Folk Ornithology: The Identification of Gulls. Working Papers of the Language Behavior Research Laboratory, No. 42.
Recent studies of folk biology clearly reveal the detailed empirical knowledge of living things which is an important and characteristic element of pre-scientific cultures. This paper attempts a contribution to the study of such systems of knowledge by analyzing the comparable skills of a few American birdwatchers. The process of identification of individual organisms is stressed as distinct from classification and nomenclature. An information processing model rather than a taxonomic model is suggested as a more meaningful framework for the description of identification processes. The identification routine of a beginner is contrasted with that of experts in terms of efficiency and organizational complexity. The contrast between "features" and "gestalts" is discussed and a typology of features outlined. The features used by birdwatchers for the identification and classification of gulls (Larinae) are described in detail. (Author/CLK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.