NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1095648
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
When Intensions Do Not Map onto Extensions: Individual Differences in Conceptualization
Hampton, James A.; Passanisi, Alessia
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v42 n4 p505-523 Apr 2016
Concepts are represented in the mind through knowledge of their extensions (the class of items to which the concept applies) and intensions (features that distinguish that class of items). A common assumption among theories of concepts is that the 2 aspects are intimately related. Hence if there is systematic individual variation in concept representation, the variation should correlate between extensional and intensional measures. A pair of individuals with similar extensional beliefs about a given concept should also share similar intensional beliefs. To test this notion, exemplars (extensions) and features (intensions) of common categories were rated for typicality and importance respectively across 2 occasions. Within-subject consistency was greater than between-subjects consensus on each task, providing evidence for systematic individual variation. Furthermore, the similarity structure between individuals for each task was stable across occasions. However, across 5 samples, similarity between individuals for extensional judgments did not map onto similarity between individuals for intensional judgments. The results challenge the assumption common to many theories of conceptual representation that intensions determine extensions and support a hybrid view of concepts where there is a disconnection between the conceptual resources that are used for the 2 tasks.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy; United Kingdom (London)