Categorization is a flexible process related to goals,
actions, and environmental contingencies (Barsalou, 1983). To categorize is to
make different objects equivalent, to group objects or events in distinct classes
and to respond to these objects or events in a manner consistent with their status
of class member’s instead of according to their singularity. According to Bruner,
Goodnow, & Austin (1956), categorization (i) reduces the complexity of our
environment, (ii) permits us to recognize objects, (iii), reduces continuous
learning, (iv), permits the decision if an action is appropriate or not and (v)
permits sorting and linking classes of objects and events.
The Language and categorization laboratory focuses on understanding brain mechanisms alllowing humans to efficiently recognize visual and auditory 'objects', in partucular linguistic objects. For instance how do we recognize any kind of chairs as a chair? If the shape of a particular chair is unusual we can still say this is a chair. Is this mechanism the same for words? there are many different fonts or handwritting styles, still people know these are words and not random shapes. What about sounds? are mechanisms similar to recognize objects? is there special mechanisms for sounds used in language?