Mandler, J. M. (2000). Perceptual and conceptual processes in infancy.
Journal of Cognition and Development, 1, 3-36.

It is suggested that we must distinguish two types of object
categorization in infancy. One is perceptual categorization, which is
an automatic part of perceptual processing that computes the perceptual
similarity of one object to another. It creates perceptual schemas of
what objects look like. The other is conceptual categorization, which
is based on what objects do. It consists of the redescription of
perceptual information into conceptual form, particularly the paths
that objects take and the interactions among them. This process creates
the notion of kinds, such as animals, plants, vehicles, and furniture.
The similarity in this kind of categorization is of roles in events,
not the physical appearance of the objects.  Several differences
between the two types of categories are discussed, of which the most
important is the different functions they serve. Perceptual categories
are used for object identification and conceptual categories control
inductive inference. Experimental results are described showing that
because early conceptual categories tend to be global in scope, the
inductive generalizations based on them are global in scope as well.

Full article PDF format