In Marjorie Rhodes (ed.), Advances in Child Development and Behavior (2020)

A large body of existing research suggests that people think very differently about categories that are seen as kinds (e.g., women) and categories that are not seen as kinds (e.g., people hanging out in the park right now). Drawing on work in linguistics, we suggest that people represent these two sorts of categories using fundamentally different representational formats. Categories that are not seen as kinds are simply represented as collections of individuals. By contrast, when it comes to kinds, people have two distinct representations: a representation of a collection of individual people and a representation of the kind itself. The distinction between these two representational formats helps to shed light on otherwise puzzling findings about stereotyping and essentialism. Stereotyping appears to involve a representation of a collection of people, while essentialism involves a representation of a kind itself.
Keywords Essentialism  Kinds  Mental Representation  Stereotypes
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