> An insight on the categorization process
and vertical thinking II
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An insight on the categorization process
and vertical thinking II
Reality around us
is a continuous kaleidoscope of stimulating perceptive stimuli.
Our senses are constantly active, sensitive to any changes in our
environment: images, sounds, movements...
Every object or environmental event presents multiples attributes relative
formal or functional qualities.
Our mind would be
overwhelmed if, since the first phases of development, it couldn't
start to organize this ocean of stimulations into schemes,
progressively and always more articulated and complex, with which
we manage the connection with material and relational
Therefore, at the basis of the development of all cognitive and
psychological processes, there is the ability to operate
on stimuli and to organize them in categories. Such a process
takes place on the basis of the rules that evolve with development.
processes start before the processes of analogical
association of characteristics or attributes, when thinking is
still illogical in some aspects. Only after 6-7 years with the
development of concrete operational thinking, the rules for
categorization processes are dictated by the
principles of logic.
How do events categories created on the basis of analogical analysis processes and those created on the basis of a logical analysis process, differ?
The first are
created by the individual on the basis of
single common characteristic from several objects:
an object is included in a category only because of having
the specific abstract characteristic identified, while all other
characteristics are ignored.
Therefore, the identified characteristic will be the only one to
define the category or concept, that will be assigned to objects or
events that could even be very inhomogeneous between them.
For instance, a 3-4 years old kid could call "cat" any four legged
animal, independently of any other characteristic, and thus in this
category also a lion could be included. The same way, a poet could
closely relate in his expressions two events, however unassociated,
simply to evoke a feeling that could suggest an analogy between them.
Instead, the categories of events created on the basis of
logical analysis processes, are defined from the
presence of specific attributes, which establish for these events
the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Such attributes are
identified, anyway, at the end of a series of cognitive processes,
such as discrimination, analysis and abstraction.
The human mind
surveys the environment's data and information on its manifold
characteristics, in order to distinguish those specific to every
event, and to notice and conceptualize those that,
instead, associate them. Such characteristics will become
distinctive and afterwards will be generalized to every
element considered in a specific context.
The conceptualization process regards
the natural and social elements of the world, and the relations
between them (of spatial, temporal, cause-effect, classification
conceptualization always implies
simplification of reality and therefore a loss of information.
Besides, it is always referred to a semantic context,
that is, it is valid or well-founded inside the context in which the
individual had the experience.
That's why the
experience elaborated by everyone is always relative, though
always objective, logical and shareable.
The logical categorization process develops in a system characterized by a vertical dimension and a horizontal dimension.
refers to a category inclusiveness level, that can be
considered as superordinated, basic or subordinated. The concept
"furniture", for instance, is inclusive of "chair", that itself
includes that of "rocking chair". The vertical dimension can be more
or less large, depending on categories.
dimension, instead, distinguishes from different concepts at the
same level of inclusiveness. For instance CD and videocassette
belong to the same level of generality, that of memory support.
categorization process is at the basis not only of concepts
detection, but also of our reasoning structure:
indicates the coordinates within which we can operate logically, in
formal and abstract thinking and in everyday thinking.
reasoning thread there's a process of more or less logical
categorization, depending on the way we think.
thinking creates categories formed prevailingly on the basis of
analogical association processes, vertical thinking creates
conceptual categories and relations defined on the basis of
the principles of logical analysis.
In everyday thinking, it often happens that both ways of
reasoning are mixed, whereby to correct forms of syllogistic reasoning may
follow an unreasonable generalization, as in stereotypes.
However, only through the use of logical conceptual and relational categories thinking can produce shareable and communicable mental representations.
form the common denominators of more or less vast groups of
objects and relations, characterized by a more or less high
interindividual variability. Objects and relations are defined
precisely, based on their corresponding logical categories, the
categories they belong to.
When referred to, objects and relations can be the objects of cognitive
communication between subjects that, sharing the knowledge about
such logical categories, are able to
understand the meaning of communication.
categorization in the construction and analysis of concept maps is
Knowledge Master very simply in
concept types management.
Categorization is a principal function