ERIC Number: EJ1077895
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Drift in Children's Categories: When Experienced Distributions Conflict with Prior Learning
Kalish, Charles W.; Zhu, XiaoJin; Rogers, Timothy T.
Developmental Science, v18 n6 p940-956 Nov 2015
Psychological intuitions about natural category structure do not always correspond to the true structure of the world. The current study explores young children's responses to conflict between intuitive structure and authoritative feedback using a semi-supervised learning (Zhu et al., 2007) paradigm. In three experiments, 160 children between the ages of 4 and 8 learned a one-dimensional decision criterion for distinguishing yummy and yucky "alien fruits". They then categorized a large number of new fruits without corrective feedback. The distribution of the new fruits was manipulated such that the natural boundary in the stimuli did not always correspond to the learned boundary. Children changed their decision criteria to reflect the structure of the new stimuli, effectively unlearning the original boundary. Younger children were especially swayed by the distributional information, being relatively insensitive to feedback that the original non-natural boundary was, in fact, still correct. Results are discussed in terms of children's ability to selectively attend to specific information (i.e. feedback vs. distribution), and their interests in forming generally useful representations of experience.
Descriptors: Prior Learning, Child Development, Young Children, Intuition, Conflict, Feedback (Response), Experiments, Decision Making Skills, Concept Formation, Visual Stimuli, Learning Processes, Experience, Knowledge Representation, Criteria
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS-0745423|IIS-0953219|IIS-0916038