Language and experience influence children's biological induction

Florencia K. Anggoro, Douglas L. Medin, Sandra R. Waxman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Children's reasoning about biological concepts is influenced not only by their experiences in the natural world and in their classrooms, but also by the way that these concepts are named. In English, 'animal' can refer either to (a) exclusively non-human animals, or (b) all animate beings (human and non-human animals). In Indonesian, this category of animate beings has no dedicated name. Here, we ask whether this difference in naming has consequences for children's reasoning about humans and non-human animals. Results from English- and Indonesian-speaking children reveals differences in reasoning at age 6, differences that become attenuated by age 9. These results suggest that not only naming practices, but also biologically-relevant formal and informal learning experiences, influence children's reasoning about biological concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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