The previous chapter defined and described information vectors as meaningful sensory events and objects. This chapter will focus on concepts. I will start with the fundamental difference between information vectors and concepts: information vectors are things you perceive; concepts are things you learn and understand.
The stop sign represents an information vector that can be measurably defined (the size, shape, and color of the sign and the letters within it). If Billy saw a stop sign, he would just recognize and record the properties of the information vector. He has no concept of what it means. But if I perceived the same information vector while I was driving, I would stop because of the concept the image represents.
What if I perceived the image of a stop sign that included two other information vectors within it that I perceived as bullet holes? The images of the bullet holes are information vectors but a bullet hole is a concept I’m familiar with. And a stop sign with bullet holes conjures a different concept to me than the concept of just the stop sign — one that might cause me to stop more briefly.
What if I were driving and I saw a red sign with the word “STOP” but the sign was a hexagon (six sides) not an octagon? I would probably stop, interpreting the information vector as something that sure looks like a stop sign, but I would notice something weird about it. I will talk more about this type of evaluation when I discuss how concepts and information vector comparison interact and reinforce each other.
Here is one more quick introductory example:
1 + 1 = 3
Your senses perceive symbols (information vectors) that you recognize as the numbers one and three and the mathematical symbols for plus and equals (all concepts). The whole equation can be considered a composite information vector that you conceptualize as a mathematical equation. And, presuming you have some mathematical aptitude, you know that the equation is incorrect. The following concepts came into play in order for you to make this decision:
And our minds process these concepts in an intelligent manner as we interpret the statement.
In this chapter we will explore three aspects of the mind’s interaction with
- Concept creation
- Concept retrieval
- Concept application