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26-11-2019 | Original Article

Perspective in the conceptualization of categories

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research
Auteurs:
Anna M. Borghi, Lawrence Barsalou
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Abstract

The ability to differently perceive and represent entities depending on their perspective is crucial for humans. We report five experiments that investigate how the different perspectives adopted while experiencing entities are reflected in conceptualizations (towards vs. away, near vs. far, beside vs. above, inside vs. outside and vision vs. audition vs. touch). Different groups of participants generated object properties while imagining the same scenario from different perspectives (e.g. entities coming toward them/going away from them while on a highway overpass). If conceptualizations have perspectives, then participants should produce features from a perspective entrenched in memory that reflects typical interactions with objects, independently of their assigned perspective (entrenched perspective). In addition, the perspective adopted in a given experiment should influence the properties generated (situated perspective). Results across the experiments indicate that conceptualizations contain both entrenched and situational perspectives. While entrenched perspectives emerge from canonical actions typically performed with objects, locations and entities, situational perspectives reflect online adaptations to current task contexts. The implications of the interplay between entrenched and situational perspectives for grounded cognition are discussed.

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