Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality
The Hebrew University, Safra Campus
Towards a theory of default representations
Rosch (1975) studied the cognitive representations of semantic categories. A chair is a prototypical representative of “furniture.” A 4-legged wooden chair with a back rest but no hand rests is a prototypical representative of “chair.” On a finer scale, such as the chair’s position and orientation in a visual representation, there are default representations. This is what I study. The default for “person” is an adult male, standing up, facing you. The default for “wine bottle” is full, but for “bottle” is empty. The default for “$5” is a fiver, but for “$2” is 2 singles. Stumpers (a special kind of child-level riddle that leaves even sophisticated hearers mostly stumped) are both a vehicle for, and a product of, understanding default representations.
A pizza lunch will be served at 11:45am. The seminar will begin at 12:00pm.