Making a silk purse out of two sow's ears: Young children's use of comparison in category learning

Laura L. Namy*, Dedre Gentner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations

Abstract

Comparison mechanisms have been implicated in the development of abstract, relational thought, including object categorization. D. Gentner and L. L. Namy (1999) found that comparing 2 perceptually similar category members yielded taxonomic categorization, whereas viewing a single member of the target category elicited shallower perceptual responding. The present experiments tested 2 predictions that follow from Gentner and Namy's (1999) model: (a) Comparison facilitates categorization only when the targets to be compared share relational commonalities, and (b) providing common labels for targets invites comparison, whereas providing conflicting labels deters it. Four-year-olds participated in a forced-choice task. They viewed 2 perceptually similar target objects and were asked to "find another one." Results suggest an important role for comparison in lexical and conceptual development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-15
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of experimental psychology. General
Volume131
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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