Labels Direct Infants' Attention to Commonalities during Novel Category Learning

Nadja Althaus, Denis Mareschal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Recent studies have provided evidence that labeling can influence the outcome of infants' visual categorization. However, what exactly happens during learning remains unclear. Using eye-tracking, we examined infants' attention to object parts during learning. Our analysis of looking behaviors during learning provide insights going beyond merely observing the learning outcome. Both labeling and non-labeling phrases facilitated category formation in 12-month-olds but not 8-month-olds (Experiment 1). Non-linguistic sounds did not produce this effect (Experiment 2). Detailed analyses of infants' looking patterns during learning revealed that only infants who heard labels exhibited a rapid focus on the object part successive exemplars had in common. Although other linguistic stimuli may also be beneficial for learning, it is therefore concluded that labels have a unique impact on categorization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere99670
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2014

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