ERIC Number: EJ849552
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
To Generalize or Not to Generalize: Spatial Categories Are Influenced by Physical Attributes and Language
Hespos, Susan J.; Piccin, Thomas B.
Developmental Science, v12 n1 p88-95 Jan 2009
The current work explored the conditions under which infants generalize spatial relationships from one event to another. English-learning 5-month-olds habituated to a tight- or loose-fit covering event dishabituated to a change in fit during a "containment" test event, but infants habituated to a visually similar "occlusion" event did not. Thus, infants' responses appeared to be driven by the physical nature of the fit rather than visual similarity. This response pattern was replicated with Korean-speaking adults, but English-speaking adults showed no sensitivity to change in fit for either event. These findings suggest that language development links linguistic forms to universal, pre-existing representations of meaning, and that linguistic experience can shape sensitivity to distinctions that are marked in one's native language.
Descriptors: Generalization, Spatial Ability, Classification, Attribution Theory, Physical Characteristics, Infants, Language Acquisition, English, Korean, Native Speakers, Responses, Linguistics, Experience
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A