ERIC Number: EJ927878
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Two-Year-Olds Use the Generic/Nongeneric Distinction to Guide Their Inferences about Novel Kinds
Graham, Susan A.; Nayer, Samantha L.; Gelman, Susan A.
Child Development, v82 n2 p493-507 Mar-Apr 2011
These studies investigated two hundred and forty-four 24- and 30-month-olds' sensitivity to generic versus nongeneric language when acquiring knowledge about novel kinds. Toddlers were administered an inductive inference task, during which they heard a generic noun phrase (e.g., "Blicks drink milk") or a nongeneric noun phrase (e.g., "This blick drinks milk") paired with an action (e.g., drinking) modeled on an object. They were then provided with the model and a nonmodel exemplar and asked to imitate the action. After hearing nongeneric phrases, 30-month-olds, but not 24-month-olds, imitated more often with the model than with the nonmodel exemplar. In contrast, after hearing generic phrases, 30-month-olds imitated equally often with both exemplars. These results suggest that 30-month-olds use the generic/nongeneric distinction to guide their inferences about novel kinds.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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