Mandler, J. M. & McDonough, L. (1996). Drinking and driving
Don't mix: inductive generalization in infancy. Cognition, 59, 307-335.
The traditional view of inducitve generalization in infancy is that it
rests on perceptual similarity; infants are said to form perceptually
based categories, such as dogs and cats, and then to associate various
properties with them. Superordinate-level inductions, such as
generalizations about animals as a domain, have been considered to be
more abstract and assumed to be a later achievement. Three experiments
were conducted to investigate these issues, using 14-month-olds as
subjects. We modeled various properties or actions appropriate to
animals or vehicles and then assessed whether infants were willing to
generalize their imitations of these actions to different exemplars
from the same and differentn domains. Contrary to the traditional view,
we found that infants this age have generalized the properties of
drinking and sleeping throughout the animal domain, and the properties
of "being keyed" and "giving a ride" throughout the vehicle domain.
These generalizations are constrained solely by the boundaries of the
domains themselves and are not influenced by the perceptual similarity
of exemplars within the domains.
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