ERIC Number: EJ778859
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 36
Robots and Rodents: Children's Inferences about Living and Nonliving Kinds
Jipson, Jennifer L.; Gelman, Susan A.
Child Development, v78 n6 p1675-1688 Nov-Dec 2007
This study tests the firm distinction children are said to make between living and nonliving kinds. Three, 4-, and 5-year-old children and adults reasoned about whether items that varied on 3 dimensions (alive, face, behavior) had a range of properties (biological, psychological, perceptual, artifact, novel, proper names). Findings demonstrate that by 4 years of age, children make clear distinctions between prototypical living and nonliving kinds regardless of the property under consideration. Even 3-year-olds distinguish prototypical living and nonliving kinds when asked about biological properties. When reasoning about non-biological properties for the full range of items, however, even 5-year-olds and adults occasionally rely on facial features. Thus, the living/nonliving distinction may have more narrow consequences than previously acknowledged.
Descriptors: Inferences, Differences, Young Children, Adults, Child Development, Physical Characteristics, Classification, Identification, Cognitive Processes, Early Childhood Education, Cognitive Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Sponsor: National Inst. of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A