Neuroscience

Measurement of thoughts during knowledge acquisition

In a recent learning study, researchers were able to show that new conceptual information is stored along spatial dimensions in the form of a mental map located in the hippocampus. Together with colleagues from the Donders ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Separation anxiety can contribute to toxic body image

Young women with separation anxiety have an elevated risk of idealizing thin body types, such as those featured in the media, according to new research co-directed by Vanderbilt consumer psychologist Steve Posavac.

Neuroscience

Brain processes concrete and abstract words differently

A new review explores the different areas of the brain that process the meaning of concrete and abstract concepts. The article is published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurophysiology (JNP).

Neuroscience

Making sense of how the blind 'see' color

What do you think of when you think of a rainbow? If you're sighted, you're probably imagining colors arcing through the sky just after the rain.

Neuroscience

Brain scans reveal how people understand objects in our world

What's an s-shaped animal with scales and no legs? What has big ears, a trunk and tusks? What goes 'woof' and chases cats? The brain's ability to reconstruct facts – "a snake," "an elephant' and "a dog" – from clues has ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Researchers factoring in how children learn mathematics

What is 72 multiplied by 12? While fourth-graders will focus on arriving at the correct answer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher Carrie Clark wants to know what happens in the brain as they learn to solve the problem.

Neuroscience

How brains distinguish between self-touch and touch by others

The brain seems to reduce sensory perception from an area of skin when we touch it ourselves, according to a new study from Linköping University published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The ...

Health

Bribe yourself to diet

(HealthDay)—For many people struggling with weight, an underlying reason for the excess pounds is the habit of using food to soothe bad feelings and reward good behavior. To lose weight, turn that habit on its ear.

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Concept

The word concept is used in ordinary language as well as in almost all academic disciplines. Particularly in philosophy, psychology and cognitive sciences the term is much used and much discussed. WordNet defines concept: "conception, construct (an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances)". However, the meaning of the term concept is much disputed. Philosopher Edouard Machery (2011), for example, argues that theories of concepts in philosophy and in psychology have distinct goals and therefore do not share the same understanding of the term concept. He writes (p. 247):

A concept is typically associated with a corresponding representation in a language or symbology; however, some concepts do not have a linguistic representation, which can make them more difficult to understand depending on a person's native language, such as a single meaning of a term.

There are prevailing theories in contemporary philosophy which attempt to explain the nature of concepts. The representational theory of mind proposes that concepts are mental representations, while the semantic theory of concepts (originating with Frege's distinction between concept and object) holds that they are abstract objects. Ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear to the mind as images, while some ideas appear to. Many philosophers consider concepts to be a fundamental ontological category of being.

The term "concept" is traced back to 1554–60 (Latin conceptum - "something conceived"),[citation needed] but what is today termed "the classical theory of concepts" is the theory of Aristotle on the definition of terms.[citation needed] The meaning of "concept" is explored in mainstream information science, cognitive science, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. In computer and information science contexts, especially, the term 'concept' is often used in unclear or inconsistent ways.

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