Portions of the data were analyzed while the author was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education in Berlin. I thank Emmie Gilman and Lori Markson for assistance in data collection; Rebecca Gomez, Bill Ogden, and several anonymous reviewers for their valuable criticisms of the manuscript; Bill Ogden for writing the triad classification task computer programs; and Ulman Lindenberger and Dom Massaro for helpful discussions concerning data analyses. Finally, I also gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the staff and children at the University Child Care Center and Holy Cross School in Santa Cruz, CA, and the Montessori and College Heights kindergartens in Las Cruces, NM.
Dimensional Strategies Dominate Perceptual Classification
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
Volume 65, Issue 6, pages 1627–1645, December 1994
How to Cite
Thompson, L. A. (1994), Dimensional Strategies Dominate Perceptual Classification. Child Development, 65: 1627–1645. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00839.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
The nature of perceptual classification was investigated in children ranging between 4 and 10 years, and in young adults. Triad classification task responses were categorized as consistent or inconsistent with several classification rules, including: overall-similarity, size-dimensional, brightness-dimensional, pure identity, and all combinations of a switch from one rule to another midway through the experiment. The rule with the highest proportion of responses consistent with it reflectd each person's best-fitting rule pattern. The higher this value, the higher the assumed consistency of rule usage. Data from the majority of individuals in every age group conformed best to one of the three dimensional rules. In addition, the consistency values for individuals' best-fitting rule became significantly higher as age increased. It is concluded that most children have a tendency to attend selectively to one stimulus dimension when making perceptual classification judgments. The developmental trend in perceptual classification does not appear to be a holistic-to-analytic shift; instead, it is a trend toward greater consistency in following a given classification rule.