How to Go from Nest to Home: Children’s Learning of Relational Categories

Florencia Anggoro, Dedre Gentner, Raquel Klibanoff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


How do children learn relational categories such as gift, barrier, or dwelling-of? In this research we explore two means of promoting relational abstraction: comparison processes and relational labels. In Experiment 1, 6-, 4-, and 3-year-old children compared pairs of cards depicting analogous situations. We either labeled the relations underlying the analogies (Relational Word condition) or simply provided the analogous pairs without labeling the relation (Analogy Only condition). Four- and six-year-olds in both conditions were able to learn the relations, but performed better if relational labels were added. Three-year-olds were unsuccessful both with and without relational words. In Experiment 2 we used a progressive alignment training method with three-year-olds. We first gave them closely similar pairs, and then progressed to analogous pairs similar to those used in Experiment 1. Three-year-olds who received a combination of progressive alignment and relational labels during training were able to successfully learn the relation. Implications for the acquisition of relational concepts are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsBruno Bara, Larry Barsalou, Monica Bucciarelli
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-0-9768318-1-5
StatePublished - 2005


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