Situational systematicity: A role for schema in understanding the differences between abstract and concrete concepts.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

concepts differ from concrete concepts in several ways. Here, we focus on what we refer to as situational systematicity: The objects and relations that constitute an abstract concept (e.g., justice) are more dispersed through space and time than are those that typically constitute a concrete concept (e.g., chair); a larger set of objects and relations constitute an abstract concept than a concrete one; and exactly which objects and relations constitute a concept is more context-dependent for abstract concepts. We thus refer to abstract concepts as having low situational systematicity. We contend that situational systematicity, rather than abstractness per se, is a critical determinant of the cognitive, behavioural, and neural phenomena associated with concepts. Further, viewing concepts as schema provides insight into (i) the situation-based dynamics of concept learning and representation and (ii) the functional significance of the brain regions and their interactions that comprise the schema control network.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Davis, CP; Altmann, GTM; Yee, E

Published Date

  • February 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 1-2

Start / End Page

  • 142 - 153

PubMed ID

  • 31900045

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1464-0627

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0264-3294

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/02643294.2019.1710124


  • eng