Prototype theory of concepts

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Chapter 5 endnote 11, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

From the ashes of classical concepts, a new view arose. It said that a concept is represented in the brain as the best example of its category, known as the prototype.

The prototype theory of concepts posits that a concept is represented in the brain as the single “best example” of its category, known as the prototype. It might be the most frequent instance of the category, or the most typical instance (meaning the closest match in number of features), or perhaps that has a majority of the category’s features (called “family resemblance”).[1][2][3]

The science of emotion has several theories that incorporate the assumption that emotion concepts are prototypes.


Notes on the Notes

  1. Rosch, Eleanor. 1978. “Principles of Categorization.” In Cognition and Categorization, edited by Eleanor Rosch and Barbara B. Lloyd, 2–48. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  2. Mervis, Carolyn B., and Eleanor Rosch. 1981. “Categorization of Natural Objects.” Annual Review of Psychology 32 (1): 89–115.
  3. Posner, Michael I., and Steven W. Keele. 1968. “On the Genesis of Abstract Ideas.” Journal of Experimental Psychology 77 (July): 353–363.