Setters and samoyeds: the emergence of subordinate level categories as a basis for inductive inference in preschool-age children.

  • Waxman S
  • Lynch E
  • Casey K
 et al. 
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Basic level categories are a rich source of inductive inference for children and adults. These 3 experiments examine how preschool-age children partition their inductively rich basic level categories to form subordinate level categories and whether these have inductive potential. Children were taught a novel property about an individual member of a familiar basic level category (e.g., a collie). Then, children's extensions of that property to other objects from the same subordinate (e.g., other collies), basic (e.g., other dogs), and superordinate (e.g., other animals) level categories were examined. The results suggest (a) that contrastive information promotes the emergence of subordinate categories as a basis of inductive inference and (b) that newly established subordinate categories can retain their inductive potential in subsequent reasoning over a week's time.

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