The role of labels and motions in infant category learning

Jelena Sucevic, Nadja Althaus, Kim Plunkett

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We investigated the impact of two highly salient transient features, labels and motions, on novel visual category learning in 10-month-old infants. In three eye-tracking experiments, infants were presented with exemplars from two novel categories either accompanied by category-specific labels, accompanied by category-specific motions, or in silence. Labels (Experiment 1) and motions (Experiment 2) were presented using a gaze-contingent design in which these transient features were triggered by infants’ fixations. Gaze-contingent transient features, despite being redundant, had a strong impact on categorization. The results revealed that both labels and motions support infants’ category formation. Furthermore, both labels and motions promoted similarity-focused exploration, whereas no such pattern was found when infants learned the categories in silence. Analyses of visual exploration patterns revealed that infants readily form expectations about motion properties of categories and that these expectations drive their looking behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105062
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Early online date25 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

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