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ERIC Number: EJ881109
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0885-2014
Form Follows Function: Learning about Function Helps Children Learn about Shape
Ware, Elizabeth A.; Booth, Amy E.
Cognitive Development, v25 n2 p124-137 Apr-Jun 2010
Object functions help young children to organize new artifact categories. However, the scope of their influence is unknown. We explore whether functions highlight property dimensions that are relevant to artifact categories in general. Specifically, using a longitudinal training procedure, we assessed whether experience with functions highlights shape as important for categorization. Seventeen-month-olds were provided experience with novel categories of similarly shaped objects. In Study 1, the function group learned about the objects' shape-based functions; a control group did not. In Study 2, 17-month-olds were trained on the same categories, but the objects' shapes and functions were no longer causally related. Only the function group in Study 1 subsequently used shape reliably when categorizing novel objects. These results suggest that function is instrumental in establishing a "shape bias" in early categorization and that it does so via conceptually based processes. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
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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