This research was supported by a grant from National Institute of Health (HD030410 to S.R.W.) and the National Science Foundation (0718513 to S.J.H.). We are indebted to the parents who kindly agreed to have their infants participate in the experiment and to the member of the Infant Cognition Lab who helped to collect the data.
Categorization in 3- and 4-Month-Old Infants: An Advantage of Words Over Tones
Article first published online: 24 MAR 2010
© 2010, Copyright the Author(s). Journal Compilation © 2010, Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 81, Issue 2, pages 472–479, March/April 2010
How to Cite
Ferry, A. L., Hespos, S. J. and Waxman, S. R. (2010), Categorization in 3- and 4-Month-Old Infants: An Advantage of Words Over Tones. Child Development, 81: 472–479. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01408.x
- Issue published online: 24 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 24 MAR 2010
Neonates prefer human speech to other nonlinguistic auditory stimuli. However, it remains an open question whether there are any conceptual consequences of words on object categorization in infants younger than 6 months. The current study examined the influence of words and tones on object categorization in forty-six 3- to 4-month-old infants. Infants were familiarized to different exemplars of a category accompanied by either a labeling phrase or a tone sequence. In test, infants viewed novel category and new within-category exemplars. Infants who heard labeling phrases provided evidence of categorization at test while infants who heard tone sequences did not, suggesting that infants as young as 3 months of age treat words and tones differently vis-à-vis object categorization.