Carrot-eaters and Creature-believers: The Effects of Lexicalization on Children's Inferences about Social Categories

  • Gelman S
  • Heyman G
  • 93

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 148

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

This article examines how language affects children’s inferences about novel social categories. We hypothesized that lexical- ization (using a noun label to refer to someone who possesses a cer- tain property) would influence children’s inferences about other people. Specifically, we hypothesized that when a property is lexical- ized, it is thought to be more stable over time and over contexts. One hundred fifteen children (5- and 7-year-olds) learned about a charac- teristic of a hypothetical person (e.g., “Rose eats a lot of carrots”). Half the children were told a noun label for each character (e.g., “She is a carrot-eater”), whereas half heard a verbal predicate (e.g., “She eats carrots whenever she can”). The children judged characteristics as significantly more stable over time and over contexts when the characteristics were referred to by a noun than when they were referred to by a verbal predicate. Lexicalization (in the form of a noun) provides important information to children regarding the stability of personal characteristics.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Susan A. Gelman

  • Gail D. Heyman

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free