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ERIC Number: EJ825902
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Explanation and Categorization: How "Why?" Informs "What?"
Lombrozo, Tania
Cognition, v110 n2 p248-253 Feb 2009
Recent theoretical and empirical work suggests that explanation and categorization are intimately related. This paper explores the hypothesis that explanations can help structure conceptual representations, and thereby influence the relative importance of features in categorization decisions. In particular, features may be differentially important depending on the role they play in explaining other features or aspects of category membership. Two experiments manipulate whether a feature is explained mechanistically, by appeal to proximate causes, or functionally, by appeal to a function or goal. Explanation type has a significant impact on the relative importance of features in subsequent categorization judgments, with functional explanations reversing previously documented effects of "causal status". The findings suggest that a feature's explanatory importance can impact categorization, and that explanatory relationships, in addition to causal relationships, are critical to understanding conceptual representation. (Contains 2 figures and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A