ERIC Number: EJ1054102
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Non-Bayesian Noun Generalization in 3-to 5-Year-Old Children: Probing the Role of Prior Knowledge in the Suspicious Coincidence Effect
Jenkins, Gavin W.; Samuelson, Larissa K.; Smith, Jodi R.; Spencer, John P.
Cognitive Science, v39 n2 p268-306 Mar 2015
It is unclear how children learn labels for multiple overlapping categories such as "Labrador," "dog," and "animal." Xu and Tenenbaum (2007a) suggested that learners infer correct meanings with the help of Bayesian inference. They instantiated these claims in a Bayesian model, which they tested with preschoolers and adults. Here, we report data testing a developmental prediction of the Bayesian model--that more knowledge should lead to narrower category inferences when presented with multiple subordinate exemplars. Two experiments did not support this prediction. Children with more category knowledge showed broader generalization when presented with multiple subordinate exemplars, compared to less knowledgeable children and adults. This implies a U-shaped developmental trend. The Bayesian model was not able to account for these data, even with inputs that reflected the similarity judgments of children. We discuss implications for the Bayesian model, including a combined Bayesian/morphological knowledge account that could explain the demonstrated U-shaped trend.
Descriptors: Generalization, Young Children, Inferences, Models, Preschool Children, Knowledge Level, Classification, Prediction, Comparative Analysis, Adults, Morphology (Languages), Prior Learning, Bayesian Statistics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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