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ERIC Number: ED167992
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Children's Use of Extensional and Intensional Information in the Acquisition of Basic and Superordinate Categories.
Horton, Marjorie S.; Markman, Ellen M.
Forty-eight nursery school and kindergarten children participated in a study of concept learning. The study focused on children's use of intensional and extensional information in the acquisition of basic and superordinate categories. The intension of a concept is its definition or set of defining attributes; its extension is the set of all exemplars. The children completed a concept training task using natural categories assigned into basic and superordinate levels. Each child was trained on two categories at the same level, one through extensional information alone and one through combined extensional and intensional information. After training on both categories, each child participated in two successive tests for each category: a discrimination test that measured learning in terms of the child's ability to identify old training exemplars as positive, to generalize to new exemplars, and to discriminate between exemplars and distractors; and a sorting exercise that required the children to sort a series of pictures used in the training task into groups of positive exemplars and nonexemplars. The results indicated that the children acquired basic level categories more easily than superordinate categories, that intensional information benefited the acquisition of categories only at the superordinate level, and that children's ability to take advantage of the intensional information for their acquisition of superordinate categories developed with age. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (58th, San Francisco, California, April 19-22, 1978)