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Infant categorization

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Abstract

In this article, we review the principal findings on infant categorization from the last 30 years. The review focuses on behaviorally based experiments with visual preference, habituation, object examining, sequential touching, and inductive generalization procedures. We propose that although this research has helped to elucidate the ‘what’ and ‘when’ of infant categorization, it has failed to clarify the mechanisms that underpin this behavior and the development of concepts. We outline a number of reasons for why the field has failed in this regard, most notably because of the context-specific nature of infant categorization and a lack of ground rules in interpreting data. We conclude by suggesting that one remedy for this issue is for infant categorization researchers to adopt more of an interdisciplinary approach by incorporating imaging and computational methods into their current methodological arsenal. WIREs Cogn Sci 2010 1 894–905

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