An examination of interdisciplinary theory between cognitive categorization and knowledge organization

Aaron Loehrlein


This paper is a preliminary comparison of the theories used to represent concepts in the field of
knowledge organization with similar theories that are used in the field of cognitive categorization. Both disciplines employ the same general types of conceptual representations, such as features, dimensions, labels and relationships. Both disciplines are also concerned with how people use these representations to organize and retrieve information. However, cognitive categorization is generally concerned with internal conceptual representations (ICRs), which are maintained in memory, while knowledge organization is
generally concerned with external conceptual representations (ECRs), which are maintained outside of memory. This fundamental distinction has profound effects on how the representations are structured, accessed and maintained. This paper explores these differences and points out cases in which ICRs and ECRs may affect each other. This analysis will support future research that utilizes ICRs in the study and evaluation of ECRs.

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