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ERIC Number: EJ946492
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
When Humans Become Animals: Development of the Animal Category in Early Childhood
Herrmann, Patricia A.; Medin, Douglas L.; Waxman, Sandra R.
Cognition, v122 n1 p74-79 Jan 2012
The current study examines 3- and 5-year-olds' representation of the concept we label "animal" and its two nested concepts--"animal"[subscript contrastive] (including only non-human animals) and "animal"[subscript inclusive] (including both humans and non-human animals). Building upon evidence that naming promotes object categorization, we introduced a novel noun for two distinct objects, and analyzed children's patterns of extension. In Experiment 1, children heard a novel noun in conjunction with two non-human animals (dog, bird). Here, both 3- and 5-year-olds readily accessed "animal"[subscript contrastive] and extended the noun systematically to other (previously un-named) non-human animals. In Experiment 2, children heard a novel noun in conjunction with a human and non-human animal. Here, 5-year-olds (but not 3-year-olds) accessed "animal"[subscript inclusive] and extended the noun systematically to humans and non-human animals. These results underscore the developmental challenge facing young children as they identify the scope of the fundamental biological term "animal" and its corresponding, nested concept(s). (Contains 1 table and 2 figures.)
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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