Rigid Thinking About Deformables: Do Children Sometimes over generalize the Shape Bias?

Samuelson, Larissa K, Horst, Jessica S, Schutte, Anne R and Dobbertin, Brandi N (2008) Rigid Thinking About Deformables: Do Children Sometimes over generalize the Shape Bias? Journal of Child Language, 35 (3). pp. 559-589. ISSN 0305-0009

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Abstract

Young children learning English are biased to attend to the shape of solid rigid objects when learning novel names. This study seeks further understanding of the processes that support this behavior by examining a previous finding that three-year-old children are also biased to generalize novel names for objects made from deformable materials by shape, even after the materials are made salient. In two experiments, we examined the noun generalizations of 72 two-, three- and four-year-old children with rigid and deformable stimuli. Data reveal that three-year-old, but not two- or four-year-old, children generalize names for deformable things by shape, and that this behavior is not due to the syntactic context of the task. We suggest this behavior is an overgeneralization of three-year-old children's knowledge of how rigid things are named and discuss the implications of this finding for a developmental account of the origins of the shape bias.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0712 Developmental psychology Including infant psychology, child psychology, adolescence, adulthood
Depositing User: Jessica Horst
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:31
Last Modified: 10 May 2012 12:37
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13071
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