Learning relational categories-whose membership is defined not by intrinsic properties but by extrinsic relations with other entities-poses a challenge to young children. The current work showed 3-, 4- to 5-, and 6-year-olds pairs of cards exemplifying familiar relations (e.g., a nest and a bird exemplifying home for) and then tested whether they could extend the relational concept to another category (e.g., choose the barn as a home for a horse). It found that children benefited from (a) hearing a (novel) category name in a relational construction and (b) comparing category members. The youngest group-3-year-olds-learned the category only when given a combination of relational language and a series of comparisons in a progressive alignment sequence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology