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Volume 5 Issue 2 (May 2002), Pages F1-F7, 151-264

Infant categorization of containment, support and tight‐fit spatial relationships (pages 247-264)


Two experiments examined infant categorization of containment, support or tight‐fit spatial relationships. English‐learning infants of 10 months (Experiment 1) and 18 months (Experiment 2) were habituated to four pairs of objects in one of these relationships. They were then tested with one event from habituation, one with novel objects in the familiar relationship, one with familiar objects in a novel relationship and one with novel objects in a novel relationship. Infants at both ages generalized their habituation of the containment relationship to novel objects in this relationship. In the support and tight‐fit conditions, the younger infants responded only to the novel objects in the test while the older infants responded to the novel relationship, but only with familiar objects. The results indicate that infants learn to categorize containment prior to support or tight‐fit relationships and suggest that infants can recognize a relationship between familiar objects prior to novel objects.

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