Generalization is a great thing. Overgeneralization, not so much.
For example, generalizing is knowing that Snow can be sparkly, dirty, on the trees, on the ground, falling from the sky. But it is still snow. Some other rules I’ve associated with snow:
- it is frozen water
- is that it is super cold
- You can walk on it, you might sink a bit.. but it is okay.
An example of Overgeneralizing, seeing frozen water on the ground, and making the assumption that you can walk on it. The answer is no, it is not the same.. that is ice.. and if you try to walk on ice, you fall and dislocate your shoulder. (I was distracted by the icicles, didn’t see the ice on the ground)
Fortunately, nothing feels broken. Unfortunately, it’s been so long since the last time I dislocated it, guess I will find out tomorrow if I set it correctly.
Living in Alaska is so different than in California. And since I have almost no experience with snow, or cold weather in general, I’ve been learning a lot from observation.. the difficulty with this is that not all the rules are taught and made known in the process.
I’ve watched the couple next door run an extension cord from the garage to their car every morning. Why? No clue. Simply observing this behavior has not taught me anything. So I asked them why. It is to plug in the car and warm the engine (because it is frozen!) before starting the car.
Today, I bought a car and sure enough, under the hood there is a plug. So I plugged it in before starting my car. That is an example of stimulus generalization. Different car, but the same rule applies. I didn’t need to be taught to plug in my car because I already knew the rule and could apply it, despite the stimulus being slightly different.