Deutsch: Typikalität / Español: Tipicidad / Português: Tipicidade / Français: Typicité / Italiano: Tipicità

Typicality in the psychology context refers to the degree to which an object, concept, or behavior is perceived as representative of a particular category or class. It is a fundamental concept in cognitive psychology, particularly in the study of categorization, where it influences how easily and quickly individuals can categorize objects and concepts based on their resemblance to the prototypical or most typical members of a category.


Typicality affects various cognitive processes, including memory recall, speed of processing, and the application of stereotypes. For instance, a robin is often considered a more typical example of the category "bird" than a penguin, affecting how quickly and accurately people categorize and recall these examples. Typicality also plays a role in the way individuals apply social stereotypes, with more "typical" members of a social group being more readily associated with the group's stereotypical attributes.

Application Areas

Understanding typicality has practical implications in several areas within psychology:

  • Cognitive Psychology: Examining how typicality influences categorization, memory, perception, and language processing.
  • Social Psychology: Investigating the impact of typicality on stereotype formation, prejudice, and social categorization.
  • Developmental Psychology: Studying how concepts of typicality develop in children and how these concepts affect their understanding of the world.

Well-Known Examples

An often-discussed example in cognitive psychology research on typicality involves categorization tasks, where participants are asked to rate the "goodness" of fit of various items to a category (e.g., how good of an example of furniture a chair is versus a lamp). These studies consistently find that items perceived as more typical are categorized more quickly and remembered better.

Treatment and Risks

While "typicality" itself is not a condition that requires treatment, understanding its influence can be important in addressing biases and stereotypes in social interactions and decision-making. In therapeutic settings, recognizing how typicality influences perceptions can help clinicians address and reduce the impact of stereotypes and biases in their clients' lives.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

  • Prototypicality
  • Representativeness

Articles with 'Typicality' in the title

  • Category typicality: Category typicality refers to the idea that some items are more representative of the category prototype than others. Items that are highly typical of a category have more features in common with the category prototype than do less typical . . .
  • Typicality effect: Typicality effect refers to the phenomenon in which experimental subjects are faster to respond to typical instances of a concept, for example, robin for the concept "bird” , than the y are to atypical instances, for example, penguin


Typicality in psychology refers to the extent to which an object or concept is considered representative of a category. This notion is crucial in cognitive and social psychology, influencing how people process information, categorize objects and individuals, and form stereotypes. Understanding the role of typicality can help in devising strategies to combat biases and improve cognitive processing and social interactions.