Get your facts right: preschoolers systematically extend both object names and category-relevant facts

Holland, Amanda, Mather, Emily, Simpson, Andrew and Riggs, Kevin J. (2016) Get your facts right: preschoolers systematically extend both object names and category-relevant facts. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. pp. 1-9. ISSN 1664-1078

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Abstract / Description

There is an ongoing debate over the extent to which language development shares common processing mechanisms with other domains of learning. It is well-established that toddlers will systematically extend object labels to similarly shaped category exemplars (e.g., Markman and Hutchinson, 1984; Landau et al., 1988). However, previous research is inconclusive as to whether young children will similarly extend factual information about an object to other category members. We explicitly contrast facts varying in category relevance, and test for extension using two different tasks. Three- to four-year-olds (N = 61) were provided with one of three types of information about a single novel object: a category-relevant fact (‘it’s from a place called Modi’), a category-irrelevant fact (‘my uncle gave it to me’), or an object label (‘it’s called a Modi’). At test, children provided with the object name or category-relevant fact were significantly more likely to display systematic category extension than children who learnt the category-irrelevant fact. Our findings contribute to a growing body of evidence that the mechanisms responsible for word learning may be domain-general in nature.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive development; language development; word learning; categorization; extension; domain general
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Amanda Holland
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2021 10:01
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2021 10:05


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