ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2009, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (04): 283-291.

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“You” is Different: Inhibition from A Second Person Functional Depiction to Object’s History’s Influence on Object Naming

WANG Zhe;SUN Yu-Hao;FU Xiao-Lan   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2007-08-15 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2009-04-30 Online:2009-04-30
  • Contact: FU Xiao-Lan

Abstract: How do people categorize an object into artifact domain? Many researchers consider creator’s intended design (Bloom, 1996) to be a mediate variable between the final judgment and many single factors, such as object’s history (Gelman and Bloom 2000), plausibility of object’s function (Asher and Kemler Nelson, 2008), and creator’s label to the object (Jaswal 2006). As an alternative theory, the utility-based view (Sun and Fu 2005) postulates that using-goal is the mediate variable instead of creator’s design. This view predicts that if subjects consider them as users rather than viewers of an object, the object would be named as an artifact because its functional information would be strongly activated.
We used a short-depiction-based object free naming task to test the above hypothesis (see Sun, Wang, and Fu, 2006). More than 160 subjects were randomly assigned to one of four experiment groups. A 2 (pronoun in functional depiction: “You” vs. “someone” used the object) × 2 (object’s history: naturally-formed vs. not mentioned) between-subject design was used. In a 7-page booklet we described 6 objects (one object per page) plus a cover page. Subjects were asked to read the depictions and write down their naming, confidence rating, and naming reasons for each object.
The results showed an interesting interaction between pronoun and object’s history. At the “someone” condition, subjects significantly less named objects into artifact domain when the object history was “naturally-formed” than “not mentioned”. But at “you” condition such difference disappeared. Besides, subjects in both conditions named object into artifact domain no matter whether the object was formed naturally or not and their confidence ratings were at the same level. Finally, functional properties of objects were more listed as naming reasons in “You” condition than in “Someone” condition.
Current findings suggest that object’s function mediates object’s history and category judgment. Based on this, we further discussed artifact concept categorization from the utility-based perspective.

Key words: Key words: artifact, categorization, design, intent, function

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