When Looks Are Everything: Appearance Similarity Versus Kind Information in Early Induction

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Abstract or Description

The goal of this research was to examine mechanisms underlying early induction—specifically, the relation between induction and categorization. Some researchers argue that even early in development, induction is based on category-membership information, whereas others argue that early induction is based primarily on similarity. Children 4 and 5 years of age participated in two types of tasks: categorization and induction. Both tasks were performed with artificial animal-like categories in which appearance was pitted against category membership. Although the children readily acquired category-membership information and subsequently used this information in categorization tasks, they ignored category membership during the induction task, relying instead on the appearance of items. These results support the idea that early in development, induction is similarity based.




Published In

Psychological Science, 18, 2, 179-185.