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Ψ Thought, Creativity & Language
- Thought -

     A Concept is an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances. Concepts can be used to group or classify objects or events.

Concept formation theories:

Exemplar Model - The concept is formed based on the essential characteristics of the real thing.
Prototype theory - The concept is formed on a mental image which is based on the average characteristics of a thing. A prototype is a standard or typical example of something. Note: to identify a new object, you match it to one of your already formed prototypes. This theory is widely accepted & has replaced the exemplar model.

The functions of concepts:

     •  to organize information by grouping things into categories to better organize & store information in memory
     •  to avoid relearning - Concepts can be used to classify & categorize things, you can easily classify new things without having to relearn what that thing is.

Different ways of thinking in problem-solving:

Algorithms - a precise rule (or set of rules) specifying how to solve some problem.

Heuristics - A rule of thumb, simplification, or educated guess that reduces or limits the search for solutions in domains that are difficult and poorly understood. Unlike algorithms, heuristics do not guarantee optimal, or even feasible, solutions and are often used with no theoretical guarantee. Note: the availability heuristic says that we often rely on information that is easy to retrieve & overlook the good stuff.

Artificial intelligence - use machine imitations of human thinking to solve problems.

Three strategies for solving problems:

1. By changing one's mental set from a functional fixedness. The use of insight.

2. Using an analogy a process of reasoning whereby two entities that share some similarities are assumed to share many others.

3. By forming subgoals - solve the parts in order, then solve the whole problem.

General Psychology
Robert C. Gates