The elementary particles of cognition are concepts. Simple, accurate association alone can be misleading. Cognitive concepts work as valuable cognitive data compression, for example, giving a set of related items the same class name: tables, chairs, birds. Cognitive concepts also contain internal structure with good and bad examples and have fuzzy edges. Concepts can be associatively linked in semantic networks to store and retrieve information. Cognition using networks is an active search process and need not require further learning to be useful. Low-level concepts can lead to the formation of higher level abstractions. An experiment by Deidre Gentner involves perception of identity in pairs of items; some pairs the same and some not. Seeing many identical pairs allows the abstraction of “identity.” The abstract relationship “identity” can then become more powerful than the details of any single example pair.
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