Let’s sup­pose you see 10 Quar­ter Horses and 10 Thor­ough­breds scat­tered around to­gether in a pas­ture. Even if you are not fa­mil­iar with th­ese breeds, your brain will au­to­mat­i­cally sort the horses ac­cord­ing to their phys­i­cal fea­tures.

EQUUS - - Conversati­ons -

op­er­ate on the ba­sis of cat­e­gor­i­cal per­cep­tion---the nat­u­ral ten­dency to or­ga­nize sights and sounds into mean­ing­ful groups.

Let’s sup­pose you see 10 Quar­ter Horses and 10 Thor­ough­breds scat­tered around to­gether in a pas­ture. Even if you are not fa­mil­iar with th­ese breeds, your brain will au­to­mat­i­cally sort the horses ac­cord­ing to their phys­i­cal fea­tures. The tall lean en­durance ath­letes will go into one group, and the ripped lit­tle mus­cle guys will go into the other group. Your brain is cat­e­go­riz­ing the horses with­out your aware­ness or ap­proval.

Cat­e­gor­i­cal per­cep­tion rep­re­sents sim­i­lar­ity across mem­bers of a group more eas­ily than dif­fer­ences among in­di­vid­u­als within that group. The

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