Micah B. Goldwater Seminar - Monday 28 September 2015 at 14:00 - Campus Dijon, Pôle AAFE, Room 101

Published: 14 sept. 15, 11:44 in Seminars.

Micah B. Goldwater,

Lecturer, The University of Sydney, School of Psychology

Relational categories in mind, brain, and education.

Categorization of novel objects, events, and information is a fundamental cognitive process that is essential for understanding our world. Typical theories of categories and concepts have historically focussed on categories defined by the intrinsic features of individual objects (e.g., fruit).  However, many of our concepts are about the extrinsic relations among objects (e.g., a barrier is something that plays a preventative role). These relational categories are especially important in education as becoming an expert in a field requires the ability to see past superficial differences and categorise phenomena and problems by their underlying relational structures (e.g., how the melting of polar icecaps and the development of economic pricing bubbles are governed by the same kind of causal relationships).  In this talk, I will first review the differences between relational and feature-based categories: presenting my work on their representational differences, and the differences in their neural correlates. Then, I will turn to my work on the role of relational categories in expertise, and methods to improve relational category learning in STEM education.

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