What's in the name? Or how rocks and stones are different from bunnies and rabbits.
Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
Labels have been shown to play an important role in inductive generalization; however, the mechanism by which labels contribute to generalization early in development remains unclear. We investigated two factors that may influence the inductive potential of labels: semantic similarity and co-occurrence probability. Results suggested that adults and 6-year-olds rely on semantic similarity of labels and that their generalizations are not affected by co-occurrence probability. Specifically, generalization patterns were qualitatively similar for co-occurring semantically similar labels (e.g., bunny-rabbit) and non-co-occurring semantically similar labels (e.g., rock-stone) in 6-year-olds and adults. Unlike 6-year-olds and adults, 4-year-olds were likely to generalize co-occurring labels but not non-co-occurring labels. Possible mechanisms by which co-occurrence probability may influence label generalization in young children are discussed.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 105, 3, 198-212.