Concept learning

S. J. Unsworth*, Douglas L Medin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Concepts form the building blocks of thought and this article demonstrates that concept learning is dynamic and complex. Various theories of concept representation and learning are reviewed, including classical, prototype, exemplar, and theory theories. Research suggests that the nature of conceptual organization changes as a function of expertise and cultural experience. Furthermore, research shows that individual goals influence the construction of concepts and that predisposed constraints on concept formation are specific to content domain. To illustrate the interaction between various factors in concept learning, we examine the domains of folk biology and mathematics and consider developmental and cross-cultural research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Education
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080448947
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Category
  • Concept
  • Culture
  • Domain
  • Exemplar
  • Expertise
  • Mathematics
  • Prototype
  • Science
  • Similarity
  • Theories
  • Typicality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Concept learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this