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ERIC Number: EJ828049
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Comparison Facilitates Children's Learning of Names for Parts
Gentner, Dedre; Loewenstein, Jeffrey; Hung, Barbara
Journal of Cognition and Development, v8 n3 p285-307 Jul 2007
Learning names for parts of objects can be challenging for children, as it requires overcoming their tendency to name whole objects. We test whether comparing items can facilitate learning names for their parts. Applying the structure-mapping theory of comparison leads to two predictions: (a) young children will find it easier to identify a common part between two very similar items than between two dissimilar items (because the similar pair is easier to align); (b) close alignments potentiate far alignments: children will be better able to extend a novel part name to a dissimilar object after having extended it to a similar object. In three studies, 227 preschool children mapped novel part terms to new animals or objects. Both predictions were confirmed. Children more accurately extended novel part terms to objects that were similar to the standard than to objects that were dissimilar (Experiments 1 and 2), and children more accurately extended novel part names to dissimilar objects after having extended them to similar objects (Experiment 3). We conclude that structure-mapping processes can support part learning. (Contains 6 figures.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A