Development of category-based reasoning in 4- to 7-year-old children: the influence of label co-occurrence and kinship knowledge.

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Abstract or Description

Category-based reasoning is central to mature cognition; however, the developmental course of this ability remains contested. One strong indicator of category-based reasoning is the propensity to make inferences based on semantically similar labels. Recent evidence indicates that in preschool-age children the effects of semantically similar labels are limited to a small subset of labels that co-occur in child-directed speech, suggesting that performance with these labels may reflect lexical priming rather than category-based reasoning. However, most co-occurring labels used in prior research refer to offspring-parent relationships (e.g., puppy-dog). Thus, it is possible that children in previous research performed induction by relying on kinship rather than co-occurrence information. To address this possibility, the current studies examined the role of kinship knowledge and label co-occurrence in induction in 4- to 7-year-old children and adults. The results point to a gradual age-related increase in the ability to spontaneously rely on kinship knowledge when making inferences.


Published In

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 115, 1, 74-90.