The origins of same/different discrimination in human infants

Susan Hespos, Dedre Gentner, Erin Anderson, Apoorva Shivaram

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The ability to detect relational patterns shared by different objects, events, or ideas is a cornerstone of our higher reasoning ability. This characteristic of humans’ abilities may have its origins in a relational processing mechanism that allows us to abstract same/different representations using comparison. This article discusses research that investigates the nature of this ability and how it develops by exploring relational learning in infants and tracing its development over the first year of life. Delineating the conditions that promote relational learning in young infants allows for comparisons to relational learning in children and adults. More broadly, this research influences our understanding of human cognition and how it differs from that of other species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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