Early Category and Concept Development

Early Category and Concept Development : Making Sense of the Blooming, Buzzing Confusion

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Whether or not infants' earliest perception of the world is a "blooming, buzzing confusion", it is not long before they come to perceive structure and order among the objects and events around them. At the core of this process, and cognitive development in general, is the ability to categorize - to group events, objects or properties together - and to form mental representations, or concepts, that encapsulate the commonalties and structure of these categories. Categorization is the primary means of coding experience, underlying not only perceptual and reasoning processes, but also inductive inference and language. The aim of this book is to bring together the most recent findings and theories about the origins and early development of categorization and conceptual abilities. Despite recent advances in our understanding of this area, a number of hotly debated issues remain at the centre of the controversy over categorization. Researchers continue to ask questions such as: Which mechanisms for categorization are available at birth and which emerge later? What are the relative roles of perceptual similarity and non-observable properties in early classification?What is the role of contextual variation on categorization by infants and children? Do different experimental procedures tap the same kind of knowledge? Can computational models simulate infant and child categorization, and how do these models inform behavioural research? What is the impact of language on category development? How does language partition the world? This book is the first to address these and other key questions within a single volume. The authors present a diverse set of views representing cutting-edge empirical and theoretical advances in the field.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 167.1 x 239.8 x 26.7mm | 780.19g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous figures
  • 0195142934
  • 9780195142938

Table of contents

1. Issues in the early development of concepts and categories: an introduction; PART 1: CONCEPTS AND CATEGORIES BEFORE THE EMERGENCE OF LANGUAGE; 2. Chunking language input to find patterns; 3. Concepts are not just for objects: categorization of spatial relation information by infants; 4. Parsing objects into categories: infants' perception and use of correlated attributes; 5. Conceptual categorization; 6. Principles of developmental change in infants' category formation; 7. Parts, motion, and the development of the animate-inanimate distinction in infancy; 8. Commentary on Part I: Unresolved issues in infant categorization; PART 2: CONCEPTS AND CATEGORIES DURING EARLY LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT; 9. Links between object categorization and naming: Origins and emergence in human infants; 10. Transaction of child cognitive-linguistic abilities and adult input in the acquisition of lexical categories at the basic and subordinate levels; 11. Making an ontology: Cross-linguistic evidence; 12. Words, kinds and causal powers: A theory theory perspective on early naming and categorization; 13. Theory-based categorization in early childhood; 14. The acquisition and use of implicit categories in early development; 15. Commentary on Part II: abilities and assumptions underlying conceptual development; 16. Final commentary: conceptual development from origins to asymptotesshow more

Review quote

"This clearly written and well-edited book adds to the chorus of opinion that might inform answers to those questions plaguing the study of reality and its construction. This book is a must-read for those who study human categorization and conceptualization. It offers an up-to-date and well-argued compendium of opinion and research from the finest minds in developmental psychology, and illuminates the current status of the empiricist-rationalist debate within psychology."-Shannon M. Pruden, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, & Julia Parish, Philosophical Psychology"This is a superb collection. It presents the very best work in this field, and it is deeply impressive in many ways. The contributors are among the best researchers around, and the chapters are clear, well-written, and up-to-date. And, most surprising of all, there is a true diversity of theoretical perspectives. Even better, there is a nice interplay between the authors, in which, for instance, the scholars who favor more of a perception-based approach discuss and critique the work of those who favor more of a top-down approach and vice-versa. It is a bit of a cliche, but this book really will be required reading for anyone interested in the study of early concepts and categories." --Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology, Yale University"There has been an explosion of exciting new work concerning early category and concept development. This book is a much anticipated and sorely needed volume. It provides a state-of-the-art review of the research, highlights current debates, and airs the most promising and influential theories. Early Category and Concept Development will serve as an essential guide for future research in the area." --Andrew N. Meltzoff, Ph.D., Co-Director, Center for Mind, Brain and Learning, University of Washington"This is a very fine book that is sure to be required reading for any student of concepts or conceptual development. The chapters are individually very strong. They are also stylistically coherent--a major feat, given the heterogeneity of methods, populations, and theoretical perspectives that different authors embrace. Finally, the editors have done an excellent job of integrating this rich body of material in their introduction and in their choice and organization of the three discussants. This scholarly collection contributes substantially to our understanding of early cognitive development." --Elizabeth S. Spelke, Professor of Psychology, Harvard Universityshow more