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September 2021

Early differentiation within the animate domain: Are humans something special?

Journal/Book: J Exp Child Psychol. 2000; 75: 525 B St, Ste 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495, USA. Academic Press Inc. 134-151.

Abstract: This report investigates whether preverbal infants distinguish between humans and mammals within the animate domain. In Experiment 1, 3 groups, aged 7, 9, and I I months (N = 58), participated in an object-examination task. Infants were presented with 10 different three-dimensional toy models from one category (humans or mammals), followed by an exemplar from the other category. All groups habituated to the familiarization stimuli and dishabituated to the out-of-category item. In Experiment 2, 2 groups of infants, aged 5 and 7 months (N = 40), participated in a familiarization-novelty preference task. Four pairs of color photos of objects from the same category were presented twice, and then infants received a test pair that included one new object from the already-familiar category and one out-of-category item. Infants habituated only to humans, and 7-month-olds, but not 5-month-olds, dishabituated to the out-of-category exemplar. Implications for the development of categorical thinking during the first year of life are discussed.

Note: Article Pauen S, Univ Magdeburg, Inst Psychol, Postfach 4120, D-39016 Magdeburg, GERMANY

Keyword(s): categorization; concept formation; infancy; animate-inanimate distinction; person knowledge; INFANTS MANIPULATIVE EXPLORATION; BASIC-LEVEL; YOUNG INFANTS; NATURAL CATEGORIES; OBJECTS; REPRESENTATIONS; DISTINCTION; ATTENTION; SPEECH; AGE

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