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ERIC Number: EJ1111203
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Categorization in Infancy: Labeling Induces a Persisting Focus on Commonalities
Althaus, Nadja; Plunkett, Kim
Developmental Science, v19 n5 p770-780 Sep 2016
Recent studies with infants and adults demonstrate a facilitative role of labels in object categorization. A common interpretation is that labels highlight commonalities between objects. However, direct evidence for such a mechanism is lacking. Using a novel object category with spatially separate features that are either of low or high variability across the stimulus set, we tracked 12-month-olds' attention to object features during learning and at test. Learning occurred in both conditions, but what was learned depended on whether or not labels were heard. A detailed analysis of eye movements revealed that infants in the two conditions employed different object processing strategies. In the silent condition, looking patterns were governed exclusively by the variability of object parts. In the label condition, infants' categorization performance was linked to their relative attention to commonalities. Moreover, the commonality focus persisted after learning even in the absence of labels. These findings constitute the first experimental evidence that labels induce a persistent focus on commonalities.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A