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ERIC Number: EJ818399
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Going beyond the Evidence: Abstract Laws and Preschoolers' Responses to Anomalous Data
Schulz, Laura E.; Goodman, Noah D.; Tenenbaum, Joshua B.; Jenkins, Adrianna C.
Cognition, v109 n2 p211-223 Nov 2008
Given minimal evidence about novel objects, children might learn only relationships among the specific entities, or they might make a more abstract inference, positing classes of entities and the relations that hold among those classes. Here we show that preschoolers (mean: 57 months) can use sparse data about perceptually unique objects to infer abstract physical causal laws. These newly inferred abstract laws were robust to potentially anomalous evidence; in the face of apparent counter-evidence, children (correctly) posited the existence of an unobserved object rather than revise the abstract laws. This suggests that children's ability to learn robust, abstract principles does not depend on extensive prior experience but can occur rapidly, on-line, and in tandem with inferences about specific relations. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A