The importance of knowing a dodo is a bird: Categories and inferences in 2-year-old children

Susan A. Gelman, John D. Coley
1990 Developmental Psychology  
This study examined 2-year-old children's ability to make category-based inferences. Subjects were asked a series of questions that they could answer based on category membership, appearances, or both. In one condition, all pictures were named; in a second condition, none were named. Children performed well on prototypical pictures regardless of whether they were named; on atypical pictures, they performed better when category labels were provided. A control study demonstrated that children
more » ... red the label when it named a transient property rather than a stable category. Contrary to standard views of young children, these results indicate an early-emerging capacity to overlook salient appearances. However, one important development still to take place is the ability to use subtle perceptual cues to determine category membership in the absence of language.
doi:10.1037//0012-1649.26.5.796 fatcat:utvzvyep3ncc5lynvwfxmazooy