Re: Miller: Magical Number 7 +/- 2

From: Smith, Wendy (
Date: Tue Nov 14 1995 - 10:37:49 GMT

sh> A lot of this reduction [categorisation] is probably already done for us
sh> by our brains from birth (so the world is not really a blooming, buzzing
sh> confusion even in the beginning), but perhaps the most interesting
sh> information reduction is the kind induced by learning.

When we categorise, do we start off with an (?infinite) number of
categories containing 1 item each, and build them up into larger but
fewer categories? Or do we start off with one category and break it
down into smaller but more categories? Or do we do both? Or is it
effectively the same thing?

Also, Miller says ".... did not demonstrate that people can judge only one
attribute at a time. .... people are less accurate if they must
judge more than one attribute simultaneously."

So, when we need to judge several attributes, perhaps for different
purposes, does it make better survival sense to judge several
attributes in the same category, and perhaps sacrifice accuracy?
Or form categories according to context, and use the context to cue
which attribute to use? Or do both?

(This is my third year project; am I questioning along the right lines?)

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