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Boolean concept learning

By Sunny

On 13, Mar 2013 | In | By Sunny

Boolean concept learning

When individuals learn a Boolean concept, they try to reduce the information that is presented to them. Previous accounts have argued that they reduce the minimal description of the concept (Feldman, 2000), or its underlying decision tree (Hunt et al., 1962). The mental model theory supports this general intuition, but argues instead that what is minimized is the mental models of the concept.

The greater the number of mental models a concept is based on, the harder it is to acquire. The program given below is written in Common Lisp and illustrates the principles behind the model analysis of Boolean concepts. It can be applied to reduce a Boolean description to a set of mental models.


Supplementary materials
  • BooleanConcepts.lisp [UPDATED 3/2011]
    A program for constructing mental models of instances of objects. Its input is a set of fully explicit models, which it then seeks to simplify.
  • Program output [UPDATED 3/2011]
    The output of the computer program reported in Goodwin & Johnson-Laird’s mental model analysis of 76 Boolean concepts.


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