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Volume 8 Issue 6 (November 2005), Pages F31-F36, 459-620

Beyond the distributional input? A developmental investigation of asymmetry in infants’ categorization of cats and dogs (pages 544-550)


Two experiments are reported using a visual familiarization categorization procedure. In both experiments, infants were familiarized with sets of stimuli previously shown to contain asymmetric feature distributions that support an asymmetry in young infants’ categorization of cats and dogs (i.e. infants’ cat category excludes dogs but their dog category includes cats). In Experiment 1, the asymmetry was replicated in 4‐month‐old infants. In contrast, 10‐month‐old infants demonstrated exclusive category representations for both cats and dogs. In Experiment 2, an additional group of 10‐month‐olds demonstrated exclusive representations for both cats and dogs under conditions of very limited within‐task category familiarization. Potential mechanisms underlying the shift from an asymmetric to a symmetric pattern of categorization in the first year are discussed.

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