Article

Simplicity and Generalization: Short-cutting Abstraction in Children’s Object Categorizations

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Abstract

Development in any domain is often characterized by increasingly abstract representations. Recent evidence in the domain of shape recognition provides one example; between 18 and 24 months children appear to build increasingly abstract representations of object shape [Smith, L. B. (2003). Learning to recognize objects. Psychological Science, 14, 244-250]. Abstraction is in part simplification because it requires the removal of irrelevant information. At the same time, part of generalization is ignoring irrelevant differences. The resulting prediction is this: simplification may enable generalization. Four experiments asked whether simple training instances could shortcut the process of abstraction and directly promote appropriate generalization. Toddlers were taught novel object categories with either simple or complex training exemplars. We found that children who learned with simple objects were able to generalize according to shape similarity, typically relevant for early object categories, better than those who learned with complex objects. Abstraction is the product of learning; using simplified - already abstracted instances - can short-cut that learning, leading to robust generalization.

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... However, two alternative explanations of our findings should be considered. First, although unlikely (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008), it remains possible that infants could generalize new words without prior category knowledge. We addressed this possibility in Experiment 2 by testing whether removing the category training would affect infants' word extension performance. ...
... Infants who did not have relevant category knowledge before labeling, either because they were exposed to the exemplars of labeled categories in a manner not conducive to category formation (i.e. interleaved-categories familiarization, Experiment 1), or because they were presented with the word training without any prior exposure to the category (Experiment 2), failed to extend novel words (see also, Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). ...
... We demonstrated that even newly formed visual categories can be linked to novel words as their meanings and can guide the infants' word extension. Our findings by no means exclude the possibility that, later in development, attentional biases developing in children due to their experience with language (Gershkoff-Stowe & Smith, 2004) play a role in word learning (Son, Smith & Goldstone, 2008;Smith et al., 2002), but highlight the fact that knowledge of preverbal categories contributes to wordgeneralization processes before that happens. Note that, in the absence of relevant category knowledge, infants successfully associate new labels with particular objects (Pruden et al., 2006;Woodward, Markman, & Fitzsimmons, 1994; suggestive evidence in Experiment 2). ...
Article
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Although it is widely recognized that human infants build a sizeable conceptual repertoire before mastering language, it remains a matter of debate whether and to what extent early conceptual and category knowledge contributes to language development. We addressed this question by investigating whether 12-month-olds used preverbal categories to discover the meanings of new words. We showed that infants (N = 18) readily extended novel labels to previously unseen exemplars of preverbal visual categories after only a single labeling episode, while struggling to do so when taught labels for unfamiliar categories (N = 18). These results suggest that infants expect labels to denote categories of objects and are equipped with learning mechanisms responsible for matching prelinguistic knowledge structures with linguistic inputs. This ability is in line with the idea that our conceptual machinery provides building blocks for vocabulary and language acquisition.
... There is some evidence that children use shape with other characteristics when making decisions about objects (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). Son et al. (2008) examined children's use of shape for learning categories. ...
... There is some evidence that children use shape with other characteristics when making decisions about objects (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). Son et al. (2008) examined children's use of shape for learning categories. ...
... Children who learned about object categories with simple shaped objects learned to generalize objects to categories based on shape better than children who learned about categories with objects featuring more detail or design (Son et al., 2008). This highlights how important a child's perception of an object is in regard to their ability to use that object as something else (Tomasello, Striano, & Rochat, 1999). ...
Article
Children often substitute one object for another during play. They may substitute a stick for a sword or a box for a car, often favouring substitutes that are shaped like the needed object. The current study looked at the roles of shape and specificity, the degree to which a possible substitute resembles something else, in children's object substitutions. We asked whether children would favour generic, similarly shaped substitutes (those with low specificity) over specific ones and whether generic objects would elicit a great variety of potential substitutes than their specific counterparts. Three‐, 4‐, and 5‐year‐olds (N = 66) saw objects that varied by shape (round versus rectangular) and by specificity (generic versus specific) and were asked to help a story character find a series of objects. Children were also given an object and asked to generate a list of possible things for which the object could be substituted. Overall, children, especially 5‐year‐olds, strongly favoured the generic, same‐shaped substitutes over other objects and regularly used them for multiple substitutions. Children did not generate a longer list of potential substitutes when given a generic object. Findings suggest that children may pass over specific objects in favour generic ones when making object substitutions during play. Highlights • Researchers examined the roles of shape and specificity in young children's choice of object substitutions. • Children were asked to help a story character find four objects using four substitutes that varied in shape and specificity. • Children used generic shapes to be used as multiple needed objects more than those designed to look like something specific.
... 120 Multiple underlying mechanisms have been proposed to explain the advantage of perceptually 121 simple objects over more perceptually complex ones in transfer or relational learning. First, perceptu-122 ally simplified objects that lack irrelevant features are posited to shortcut the learner's abstraction 123 process and consequently promote generalization (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). Second, perceptu-124 ally simplified objects have high portability in that they are more likely to be considered to refer to 125 something else, whereas the references of rich objects are highly limited to the specific objects pre- ). ...
... Infants in the current study were habituated to four exem-528 plars of a relation prior to the test. In contrast, most of those studies documenting the benefit of sim-529 plicity in relational transfer presented their learners with a single set of objects (i.e., an instance of the 530 relation) as the basis of generalization (e.g.,Kaminski & Sloutsky, 2010; Kaminski et al., 2008; 531Rattermann et al., 1990;Son et al., 2008Son et al., , 2011. Possibly, the advantage of a simple instance as a 532 ready-made abstract representation is more pronounced when the learner must grasp the relational 533 structure from a single instance compared with when the learner is given multiple exemplars of534 the relation (and sufficient time to compare them). ...
... For example, Son, Smith, and Goldstone (2008) reduced cognitive load by providing simplified depictions of novel objects and found that this promoted better generalization of novel objects than more complex examples. Whether decreasing the number of illustrated scenes presented simultaneously in a storybook also decreases the cognitive load of word learning from shared storybook reading remains unknown. ...
... The more information children need to think about, the more challenging the task. Consequently, removing extraneous perceptual information may improve learning (see, e.g., Son et al., 2008). For example, kindergarten children are better able to learn information from science lessons when the extraneous information of a highly decorated classroom is removed (Fisher, Godwin, & Seltman, 2014). ...
Article
Two experiments tested how the number of illustrations in storybooks influences 3.5-year-old children's word learning from shared reading. In Experiment 1, children encountered stories with two regular-sized A4 illustrations, one regular-sized A4 illustration, or one large-sized A3 illustration (in the control group) per spread. Children learned significantly fewer words when they had to find the referent within two illustrations presented at the same time. In Experiment 2, a gesture was added to guide children's attention to the correct page in the 2-illustration condition. Children who saw two illustrations with a guiding gesture learned words as well as children who had seen only one illustration per spread. Results are discussed in terms of the cognitive load of word learning from storybooks.
... For shape recognition, TD children demonstrate better perception towards objects with simple shapes than with complex shapes at an early stage (Son et al., 2008). Starting as early as 20 months of age, TD children can exhibit their preference on shapes, while children with ASD cannot (Potrzeba et al., 2015). ...
... The design of the four books was informed and inspired by existing knowledge about ASD. That is, children with ASD favour monotonous patterns to complex ones (Son et al., 2008); they pay attention to parts more than the whole (Happé, & Frith, 2006); they prefer singular items to multiple ones (Hessels et al., 2018), they find geometrical shapes appealing (Potrzeba et al., 2015) and they have certain preference to colours (Grandgeorge & Masataka, 2016). While it appeared that the researcher-made books in general attracted the ASD participants' attention, there is not sufficient evidence to claim which type(s) of the researcher-made books sustained better attention, nor was there indication of attentional differences of TD children when viewing different types of the research-made books. ...
Article
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Different from the visual attention of typically developing (TD) children, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have the tendency to pay attention to parts rather than the whole of objects. Hence, the pictures in a typical story-based picture book, which usually contains various objects and elements, may appear distracting and discomforting for children with ASD. By recruiting 4-6-year-old ASD and TD children (N=40) to participate in an eye-tracking experiment, this study examined participants' visual attention on a typical children's picture book and four other researcher-designed picture books that are simplified in composition and types of elements. Results from between-group comparisons indicated children with ASD had significantly fewer fixation counts and shorter total fixation durations when reading the story-based picture book than TD children. Significant within-group differences were also identified comparing the ASD participants' reading of the story-based and the researcher-made picture books. However, the viewing behaviours of the ASD and TD groups when reading the researcher-designed books were much more similar. Discussion of the visual characteristics and practical implications for educators to effectively design picture books were offered.
... Those simple line drawings provided idealized versions of the defining features, making explicit what were subtle but critical cues for encoding and classification. More recently, young children who were taught category labels with simple objects, defined as those with fewer features and details, were more successful at generalizing to novel category members than they were when shown more complex learning objects (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). We refer to this asymmetry of transfer from simple versus complex training instances as the simple advantage. ...
... These findings are consistent with the results of past research on generalization by shape with young children (e.g., Son et al., 2008)-in short, simple instances promote better category generalization. Why are these instances advantageous for transfer? ...
Article
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Recent research in relational learning has suggested that simple training instances may lead to better generalization than complex training instances. We examined the perceptual-encoding mechanisms that might undergird this "simple advantage" by testing category and perceptual learning in adults with simplified and traditional (more complex) Chinese scripts. In Experiment 1, participants learned Chinese characters and their English translations, performed a memorization test, and generalized their learning to the corresponding characters written in the other script. In Experiment 2, we removed the training phase and modified the tests to examine transfer based purely on the perceptual similarities between simplified and traditional characters. We found the simple advantage in both experiments. Training with simplified characters produced better generalization than training with traditional characters when generalization relied on either recognition memory or pure perceptual similarities. On the basis of the results of these two experiments, we propose a simple process model to explain the perceptual mechanism that might drive this simple advantage, and in Experiment 3 we tested novel predictions of this model by examining the effect of exposure duration on the simple advantage. We found support for our model that the simple advantage is driven primarily by differences in the perceptual encoding of the information available from simple and complex instances. These findings advance our understanding of how the perceptual features of a learning opportunity interact with domain-general mechanisms to prepare learners for transfer.
... In the light of these interpretations from previous findings of Şerif (1985) and Sherif (1935), it can be said that the first system is shaped through social influences by the second one, rather than through the exchange of information with each other. This idea coincides strikingly with Vygotsky's (1978Vygotsky's ( , 1987 approach, perceptual narrowing hypothesis (Lewkowicz & Ghazanfar, 2009), and the findings from previous research that tried to investigate the link between selective attention and conceptualization (Chow, Davies, & Plunkett, 2017;Rhodes, Gelman, & Brickman, 2010;Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). ...
... We know that, in concept learning before three years of age, children are sensitive to social signals (Balaban & Waxman, 1997;Ferguson & Lew-Williams, 2016;Nazzi & Gopnik, 2001), understand the link between word-intention-reference (Preissler & Carey, 2004;Sullivan & Barner, 2016), can perform successful generalizations when stimuli are simple (Son et al., 2008), and can benefit from open pedagogical messages with the use of names (Butler & Tomasello, 2016). However, how children from three years old conceptualize when they encounter multi-featured stimuli during a sustained social interaction, and how they transfer it to other contexts one or more days later is not clearly known-despite the findings of Experiment 1 in fiveand seven-year-old children. ...
Article
Are children's conceptualizations based on perceptual similarities or their learnings from others? The model proposed in this article, Setting up the Cage of Meaning (SCM), mainly defines conceptualization as the ability to organize mental representations through a series of top-down processes in social interaction. It also claims that conceptualization, in this way, reshapes our perceptual experiences. To test this model, a new block classification task was developed, which can be used with a tablet computer or wooden blocks. The experiments consisted of two sessions. In the first session, the impacts of a social interaction process provided by the SCM were examined; in the other session, it was examined whether these effects were transferred to a similar task a few days later. Results of the experiments showed that conceptualization performances of three-, five- and seven-year-olds increased when they were supported by a human over wooden blocks. The conceptualization performances of the three- and five-year-olds supported by an artificial intelligence tool over the tablet computer version also increased. These performances were successfully transferred to two opposite modalities in the second session. In all experiments, supported young children's conceptualization performances rose to the level of children two years older.
... A typical example of a category that is represented in several domains is 'apple' (compare Smith et al. 1988). When we encounter apples as children, the first domains we learn about are those of colour, shape, texture, and taste (see, e.g., Son et al. 2008;Gärdenfors 2017). Later, we learn about apples as fruits (biology), and as things with nutritional value, etc. ...
Article
Full-text available
Within analytic philosophy, induction has been seen as a problem concerning inferences that have been analysed as relations between sentences. In this article, we argue that induction does not primarily concern relations between sentences, but between properties and categories. We outline a new approach to induction that is based on two theses. The first thesis is epistemological. We submit that there is not only knowledge-how and knowledge-that, but also knowledge-what. Knowledge-what concerns relations between properties and categories and we argue that it cannot be reduced to knowledge-that. We support the partition of knowledge by mapping it onto the long-term memory systems: procedural, semantic and episodic memory. The second thesis is that the role of inductive reasoning is to generate knowledge-what. We use conceptual spaces to model knowledge-what and the relations between properties and categories involved in induction.
... Bu yönüyle araçlar, tıpkı semboller gibi, insan hayatının vazgeçilmez parçaları olmuştur (Jablonka ve Lamb, 2011;Vygotsky, 1978Vygotsky, , 1987. Vygotsky (1978,1987), Tomasello (2005, 2008) ve Fernyhough (2008 Barsalou, 2012). İnsanın araçsallaştırmaya yönelik çaba ve becerisinin gerisindeki zihinsel işlemlerin, bu nedenle hem evrimsel hem de kültürel olarak sosyal olabileceğinin altı çizilmelidir. ...
Thesis
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Are children's conceptualizations based on their skills of scanning perceptual similarities? Or do they learn concepts from others? Another possibility is that in some cases the perceptual similarity, in other cases cultural learning may be decisive. The model proposed in this study, Setting up the Cage of Meaning (SCM), criticizes these views in the literature and defines the conceptualization as the ability to organize mental representations through a series of top-down processes in the context of social interaction. At the same time it claims that this organization reshapes our perceptual experiences. The empirical objective of this study is to examine the effects of human-human and human-computer interactions on the conceptualization performances of three- and five-year-old children in the framework of SCM. For this purpose, a new block classification task has been developed which can be used with tablet computers or wooden blocks to measure conceptualization performance. In Experiment 1 (N = 60), children's conceptualization performance increased when they were supported in the framework of SCM over wooden blocks. So much so that this support raised three-year-olds to the age of five. It was also understood that, although this effect lost its power after an average of 2.36 days, it still caused relatively high performance both in wooden blocks and in the virtual environment. In Experiment 2 (N = 90), it was seen that the conceptualization performance of the children supported by a human or computer in the framework of SCM over the tablet computer version of the task used in the first experiment increased at the same rate. This support raised three-year-olds to the age of five again. This level was observed to be preserved both in wooden blocks and in virtual environment after 2.36 days on average. These results, together with the microgenetic effects observed in the experiments, are predominantly predicted by SCM rather than other approaches. In conclusion, the study pointed out that the most effective element in conceptualization is interactive pedagogical reciprocity, not source (human or computer) or modality (real or virtual).
... best support learning (Kidd et al., 2012(Kidd et al., , 2014Kinney & Kagan, 1976;Twomey et al., 2014). Equally, simplicity has been shown to support learning in some cases (Bulf et al., 2011;Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). To help make sense of these conflicting results, all of which come from experiments with predetermined stimulus presentation orders, we analyzed the stimulus sequences generated by the curious model. ...
Article
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Infants are curious learners who drive their own cognitive development by imposing structure on their learning environment as they explore. Understanding the mechanisms by which infants structure their own learning is therefore critical to our understanding of development. Here we propose an explicit mechanism for intrinsically motivated information selection that maximizes learning. We first present a neurocomputational model of infant visual category learning, capturing existing empirical data on the role of environmental complexity on learning. Next we “set the model free”, allowing it to select its own stimuli based on a formalization of curiosity and three alternative selection mechanisms. We demonstrate that maximal learning emerges when the model is able to maximize stimulus novelty relative to its internal states, depending on the interaction across learning between the structure of the environment and the plasticity in the learner itself. We discuss the implications of this new curiosity mechanism for both existing computational models of reinforcement learning and for our understanding of this fundamental mechanism in early development.
... Another possibility is that the haptic experiences highlighted unnecessary aspects of the situation and masked relevant aspects. Such focus on irrelevant input might have interfered with participants' efforts to analyze the pairs of objects carefully (cf., Kaminski et al., 2008;Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). Without taking the time to compare the objects carefully, participants might have defaulted to the simplistic strategy of ignoring all but the most salient feature. ...
Article
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In line with theories of embodied cognition, hands-on experience is typically assumed to support learning. In the current paper, we explored this issue within the science domain of sinking objects. Adults had to make a guess about which of two objects in a pair would sink faster. The crucial manipulation was whether participants were handed real-life objects (real-objects condition) or were shown static images of objects (static-images condition). Results of Experiment 1 revealed more systematic mistakes in the real-objects than the static-images condition. Experiment 2 investigated this result further, namely by having adults make predictions about sinking objects after an initial training. Again, we found that adults made more mistakes in the real-objects than the static-images condition. Experiment 3 showed that the negative effect of hands-on experiences did not influence later performance. Thus, the negative effects of hands-on experiences were short-lived. Even so, our results call into question an undifferentiated use of manipulatives to convey science concepts. Based on our findings, we suggest that a nuanced theory of embodied cognition is needed, especially as it applies to science learning.
... Multiple studies have demonstrated exceptional pitch perception and discrimination in both children and adults with ASD (reviewed in Mottron, Dawson, Soulieres, Hubert, & Burack, 2006), and our group hypothesized that hyper-acuity for pitch could contribute to overly detailed representations of phonological information, thereby delaying the development of phonological categories and subsequent word learning in ASD . The ability to build abstract categories rather than focusing on immediate perceptual qualities may be critical in early language development (e.g., Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). In this way, superior pitch processing in ASD might reflect the overdevelopment of low-level perceptual processes in general (Bonnel et al., 2003), consistent with local neural overconnectivity (Belmonte et al., 2004). ...
... Hess, 1982 Hess & Slaughter, 1986a, 1986bU 2000 rst in, last out Gulya et al., 2002Connelly & Hasher, 199319982009;2007Craik & Byrd, 1982Changizi, 2009/2012Fantz, 1963Atkinson, 2000Cant & Goodale, 2007 ...
Article
This study examined lifespan developmental changes in abstraction abilities for three visual features of objects. They were shape, texture or color features, which were common to two or eight geometric figures. The findings indicated that abstraction abilities for shapes remained constant across age, but that abstraction of texture and color features varied between the six age groups. Texture and color were visible to the youngest participants (3 year-olds) and to the oldest (75–90 year-olds) age groups, but the 3 year-olds and elderly participants were not aware that the two or eight figures shared the same texture or color. These results support the “first in, last out principle” in the lifespan development of visual cognition.
... At a still higher level, the cognitive system can strip away specific details concerning the particular medium of symbolic representations-whether it is a scale model, a map, or a photograph-and abstract the principle that symbol systems in general represent their referent systems-stand for (symbol systems, referent systems). This meta-representational mapping can permit re-representation upon encountering novel symbolic systems, allowing for inter-representational flexibility and cross-domain transfer (Forbus, Gentner, & Law, 1995;Karmiloff-Smith, 1990;Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). ...
Article
We argue that analogical reasoning, particularly Gentner's (1983, 2010) structure-mapping theory, provides an integrative theoretical framework through which we can better understand the development of symbol use. Analogical reasoning can contribute both to the understanding of others' intentions and the establishment of correspondences between symbols and their referents, two crucial components of symbolic understanding. We review relevant research on the development of symbolic representations, intentionality, comparison, and similarity, and demonstrate how structure-mapping theory can shed light on several ostensibly disparate findings in the literature. Focusing on visual symbols (e.g., scale models, photographs, and maps), we argue that analogy underlies and supports the understanding of both intention and correspondence, which may enter into a reciprocal bootstrapping process that leads children to gain the prodigious human capacity of symbol use.
... From 18 through 24 months of age, children undergo what might be called a naming spurt, acquiring a substantial number of nouns for representing objects. Evidence suggests that, during this period, they also learn to extract the general shape of objects and that this abstraction helps in category learning (Smith, 2009 ;Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008 ). One interpretation is that the development of the shape domain, as a region of the category domain, strongly facilitates the learning of names for object categories. ...
Chapter
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The main thesis of this chapter is that children do not learn single new words but rather new words that belong to the same domain. For example, once they learn a word for a color, other color words will be learned soon after. The chapter presents a model of such domain-oriented language learning. Conceptual spaces are used as a framework for modeling the semantic processes involved in language acquisition. The author illustrates the model with some of the semantic domains that a child acquires during the first formative years of life. Linguistic data is also presented in support of the hypothesis that semantics knowledge is organized into domains.
... In a similar vein, research has demonstrated that TD children with small vocabularies benefit from teaching props that focus their attention to the overall shape of items (Son, Smith & Goldstone, 2008). Son and colleagues (2008) taught children the names of new objects that either had large amount of detail (e.g., texture, color, fine-grain shape) or were mere shape abstractions. ...
Conference Paper
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When identifying basic-level categories (e.g., airplane, cow), typically developing (TD) children commonly use the overall shape of objects as basis for their judgments. This so-called shape bias is tied to the size of a child's vocabulary and as such might be a way of adaptively organizing an ever-growing vocabulary. The current study looks at whether the same is true for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A group of participants with ASD and TD controls were asked to categorize objects that differed in the amount of item detail. Results show that vocabulary size was related to success in categorizing objects for TD participants, but not for ASD participants. We discuss the degree to which a link between shape bias and vocabulary size in ASD children may be an indication of differentiated patterns of adaptation.
... In support of the easy-to-difficult perceptual learning paradigm are recent studies of contrast discrimination, (321) natural scene gist processing, (315) visual search, (583) auditory learning (584) and object recognition in children. (585) However, studies that conflict with the easy-to-difficult reverse hierarchy paradigm are not difficult to find. conditions. ...
Research
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PhD thesis 2016 Abstract Cytopathology is an image perception task of profound clinical importance. Little is known about the mechanisms by which cytology skills develop or the causes of interpretive error. Four laboratory experiments and two field studies explored the perceptual and attentional processes in cytopathology. Experiments 1 and 2 examined visual skill acquisition while experiments 3 and 4 investigated sensory distraction in novice participants. One field study recruited cytologists to compare the accuracy of traditional glass microscopy with virtual microscopy, a developing technology with potential to transform cytopathology services. Another area of current interest is biomarker enhancement of cytological preparations. The extent to which a new biomarker, the SurePath Plus test, assists diagnosis was investigated in a second field study. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that a brief period of untutored exposure to paired cell images involving “easy” exemplars was as effective as lengthier and more explicit cytopathology tuition. Furthermore, training on “hard” images was ineffective. The results support the development of perceptual learning modules for cytopathology. Experiments 3 and 4 showed that cell interpretation is remarkably resilient to several forms of sensory distraction. Although it is tempting to suggest that distraction is of no concern in cytopathology, further studies using experienced cytologists are required. In the field studies, virtual microscopy was inferior to glass microscopy in terms of diagnostic accuracy. Workstation ergonomics and focusing capability are key areas for improvement before implementation. Finally, while the SurePath Plus test enhanced diagnostic sensitivity, this was at the expense of specificity. Additionally, participants varied considerably in their ability to extract useful diagnostic information from SurePath Plus slides. Perceptual effects should be considered before introducing new visual modalities in cytopathology.
... There is an interesting drawback when it comes to learning abstract concepts. Unlike what one would expect, findings show that overly detailed and richly embedded learning materials have a negative impact on children's ability to abstract underlying concepts (e.g., Goldstone & Sakamoto, 2003;Kaminski, Sloutsky, & Heckler, 2008;Ratterman, Gentner, & DeLoache, 1990;Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). For example, when the learning materials were colored shaped intricately, children had more difficulty discovering an abstract mathematical rule than when the materials were black-and-white simple shapes (Kaminski et al., 2008). ...
... For example, newborns can learn highly-predictable sequences of visual stimuli, but not less predicable sequences [22]. Similar phenomena have been seen in noun generalization tasks, in which older toddlers can generalize categories after training with perceptually simple -but not complex -stimuli [23]. In contrast, 10-month-old infants in a novelty preference/categorization task formed a robust category when familiarized with novel stimuli in an order that maximized, but not minimized, overall perceptual differences between successive stimuli [1]. ...
Conference Paper
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Infants are curious learners who drive their own cognitive development by imposing structure on their learning environments as they explore. Understanding the mechanisms underlying this curiosity is therefore critical to our understanding of development. However, very few studies have examined the role of curiosity in infants' learning, and in particular, their categorization; what structure infants impose on their own environment and how this affects learning is therefore unclear. The results of studies in which the learning environment is structured a priori are contradictory: while some suggest that complexity optimizes learning, others suggest that minimal complexity is optimal, and still others report a Goldilocks effect by which intermediate difficulty is best. We used an auto-encoder network to capture empirical data in which 10-month-old infants' categorization was supported by maximal complexity [1]. When we allowed the same model to choose stimulus sequences based on a " curiosity " metric which took into account the model's internal states as well as stimulus features, categorization was better than selection based solely on stimulus characteristics. The sequences of stimuli chosen by the model in the curiosity condition showed a Goldilocks effect with intermediate complexity. This study provides the first computational investigation of curiosity-based categorization, and points to the importance characterizing development as emerging from the relationship between the learner and its environment.
... To be able to recognize the crucial commonalities an abstract representation is required. 7 Sleep may play a role in selecting the relevant features that should be represented, and in promoting the forgetting of irrelevant information, thus, reorganizing memory. 8 Several studies showed that after sleep, adults are more efficient in tasks that require generalization, e.g., synthetic speech recognition, 3 finding a hidden rule in a mathematical problem, 4 or a relational memory task. ...
Article
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One of the key processes in language development is generalization-the selection and extension of relevant features and information to similar objects and concepts. Little is known about how sleep influences generalization, and studies on the topic are inconclusive. Our aim was to investigate how a nap affects generalization in 16-mo-olds. We hypothesized that a nap is necessary for successful generalization of word meanings. We trained toddlers with two novel object-word pairs and tested their initial ability to generalize. Toddlers took part in an intermodal preferential looking task, in which they were shown different colored versions of the original objects and heard one of the trained labels. If toddlers understand the label, they are expected to increase their looking time to the target. Afterward, the nap group went to sleep, while the wake group stayed awake for approximately 2 h. We then repeated the test of their performance on the generalization task. Research laboratory for infants and toddlers. Twenty-eight 16-mo-old, typically developing toddlers randomly assigned to nap and wake groups. The nap group slept for about 1 h between the two test sessions, while the wake group stayed awake. Looking behavior was measured with an automated eye tracker. Vocabulary size was assessed using the Oxford Communicative Development Inventory. Toddlers wore actiwatches between the two sessions. A significant interaction of group and session was found in preferential looking. The performance of the nap group increased after the nap, whereas that of the wake group did not change. Our results suggest that nap improves generalization in toddlers. Copyright © 2015 Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC. All rights reserved.
... A typical example of a category that is represented in several domains is 'apple' (compare Smith et al. 1988). When we encounter apples as children, the first domains we learn about are those of colour, shape, texture, and taste (see, e.g., Son et al. 2008;Gärdenfors 2017). Later, we learn about apples as fruits (biology), and as things with nutritional value, etc. ...
Preprint
Within analytic philosophy, induction has been seen as a problem concerning inferences that have been analysed as relations between sentences. In this article, we argue that induction does not primarily concern relations between sentences, but between properties and categories. We outline a new approach to induction that is based on two theses. The first thesis is epistemological. We submit that there is not only knowledge-how and knowledge-that, but also knowledge-what. Knowledge-what concerns relations between properties and categories and we argue that it cannot be reduced to knowledge-that. We support the partition of knowledge by mapping it onto the long-term memory systems: procedural, semantic and episodic memory. The second thesis is that the role of inductive reasoning is to generate knowledge-what. We use conceptual spaces to model knowledge-what and the relations between properties and categories involved in induction.
... First, children start to use abstract representations of global shape rather than local features to recognise objects (Augustine et al., 2011;Pereira & Smith, 2009;Smith, 2003). This change enables adult-like performance in simple object recognition tasks and is thought to facilitate generalization and increase the robustness of object recognition (Son et al., 2008). Second, children start to use object shape as the crucial property to generalize names to never before seen objects-a tendency termed shape bias (e.g., see Landau et al., 1988). ...
Preprint
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In laboratory object recognition tasks based on undistorted photographs, both adult humans and Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) perform close to ceiling. Unlike adults', whose object recognition performance is robust against a wide range of image distortions, DNNs trained on standard ImageNet (1.3M images) perform poorly on distorted images. However, the last two years have seen impressive gains in DNN distortion robustness, predominantly achieved through ever-increasing large-scale datasets$\unicode{x2014}$orders of magnitude larger than ImageNet. While this simple brute-force approach is very effective in achieving human-level robustness in DNNs, it raises the question of whether human robustness, too, is simply due to extensive experience with (distorted) visual input during childhood and beyond. Here we investigate this question by comparing the core object recognition performance of 146 children (aged 4$\unicode{x2013}$15) against adults and against DNNs. We find, first, that already 4$\unicode{x2013}$6 year-olds showed remarkable robustness to image distortions and outperform DNNs trained on ImageNet. Second, we estimated the number of $\unicode{x201C}$images$\unicode{x201D}$ children have been exposed to during their lifetime. Compared to various DNNs, children's high robustness requires relatively little data. Third, when recognizing objects children$\unicode{x2014}$like adults but unlike DNNs$\unicode{x2014}$rely heavily on shape but not on texture cues. Together our results suggest that the remarkable robustness to distortions emerges early in the developmental trajectory of human object recognition and is unlikely the result of a mere accumulation of experience with distorted visual input. Even though current DNNs match human performance regarding robustness they seem to rely on different and more data-hungry strategies to do so.
... Ως όψεις της γνωστικής λειτουργίας των στερεοτύπων, η απλοποίηση και συστηματικοποίηση της ροής της εμπειρίας έχουν προεκτάσεις για τη διαπολιτισμική επικοινωνία. Όπως η απλοποίηση, έτσι και η γενίκευση αγνοεί πληροφορίες (που φαίνονται) περιττές (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). Η υπερβολική απλοποίηση και γενίκευση, όμως (π.χ. ...
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This paper has a double aim: (a) to approach a stereotype of the nation as overgeneralization and obstacle to intercultural communication and (b) to suggest ways to start to “escape” from stereotypical thinking. The first aim is pursued through a comparison between two conceptualizations of the level of “programming” of the human mind: (a) Hofstede’s model of the “software” of the human mind and (b) a stereotype of the Greek nation widely used in schools, as it is presented in the literature. Both constitute theories of the patterns of thinking, feeling and potential acting among the members of nation. The first (scientific) theory is explicitly articulated on three levels: individual, group and human nature. The stereotype of the nation may be viewed as a folk theory. Meant to serve the management of everyday life, it does not have to be explicitly formulated or satisfy the requirements of a scientific theory. The school stereotype was subject to thematic analysis. The comparison suggests that this national stereotype tends to abolish the lines that, In Hofstede’s schema, keep the levels of mental programming clearly separate. As a result, the stereotype constitutes an overgeneralization. As such, it is viewed as an obstacle to successful intercultural communication. Thus, I argue for the need of critical self-examination as the means of acquiring awareness of our stereotypes. To this purpose, a few “techniques” and a brief overview of relevant literature.
... When learners draw parallels between two cases and practice aligning similar elements across two systems (Gentner et al. 2003;Son et al. 2011), they are better able to transfer their knowledge to superficially dissimilar novel problems (Alfieri et al. 2013). Learning tasks that make relations explicit, while stripping away distracting details, results in more portable and generalizable knowledge (Gentner and Markman 1997;Kaminski et al. 2008;Son et al. 2008;Uttal et al. 2009). ...
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Research suggests that expert understanding is characterized by coherent mental representations featuring a high level of connectedness. This paper advances the idea that educators can facilitate this level of understanding in students through the practicing connections framework: a practical framework to guide instructional design for developing deep understanding and transferable knowledge in complex academic domains. We start by reviewing what we know from learning sciences about the nature and development of transferable knowledge, arguing that connectedness is key to the coherent mental schemas that underlie deep understanding and transferable skills. We then propose features of instruction that might uniquely facilitate deep understanding and suggest that the connections between a domain’s core concepts, key representations, and contexts and practices of the world must be made explicit and practiced, over time, in order for students to develop coherent understanding. We illustrate the practicing connections approach to instructional design in the context of a new online interactive introductory statistics textbook developed by the authors.
... According to researchers who have cognitive perspective, abstraction in general is a constant change associated with new experiences such as noticing the similarities in one's experiences (Kaplan & Elif, 2015). Thus, the ability to abstract is a skill that allows finding the similarities between objects (Gentner & Lowenstein, 2002), which is extremely important for generalization (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). ...
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Executive function skills constitute an important basis for learning and adaptation in early childhood. The executive function skills can easily improve in children who uses good practices in preschool. These skills are especially important because they help children overcome all complex tasks required to manage themselves. The aim of the present study was to examine abstraction and cognitive flexibility components, which are important components of executive functions, in 4-6-year-old Turkish children and refugee children attending kindergarten and nursery school using Flexible Item Selection Task (FIST). In addition, the research aimed to compare the abstraction and cognitive flexibility according to gender and age variables using three different sections: Turkish students attending kindergarten, Turkish students attending nursery school and refugee children attending nursery school. The study was a survey type of quantitative research, and a cross-sectional survey approach was used. The participants were 99 Turkish and refugee children who were 4-6-year-old and attended kindergarten and nursery schools in central town of a province in Turkey. The schools where 48-60-month-old children are taught are called kindergarten in Turkey while the schools for 61-72-month-olds are called nursery schools. The study included one kindergarten and two nursery schools. These schools are located in the city center, long distances from each other and in different neighborhoods. The Turkish children in the study were both kindergarten and nursery school children whereas refugee children were only nursery school children who attended to the nursery school together with Turkish children. Children were evaluated by their class-gender and class-age combinations. There were 16 Turkish boys and 16 Turkish girls attending kindergarten, 17 Turkish boys and 19 Turkish girls attending nursery school, and 16 refugee boys and 15 refugee girls attending nursery school. In terms of class-age combinations, there were 15 Turkish students in kindergarten, 16 i OKUL ÖNCESİ DÖNEMDEKİ TÜRK VE MÜLTECİ ÇOCUKLARIN YÜRÜTÜCÜ İŞLEV BECERİLERİNİN KARŞILAŞTIRILMASI: NESNE SEÇİMİNDE ESNEKLİK GÖREVİ (NSEG) European Journal of Education Studies-Volume 8 │ Issue 1 │ 2021 236 Turkish students in nursery school and 16 refugee students in nursery school in 48-60-month age group while 61-72 months age group had 17 Turkish students in kindergarten, 20 Turkish students in nursery school and 15 refugee students in nursery school. Flexible Item Selection Task (FIST) was used as the data collection tool in the study. The implementation of the measuring tool was carried out individually with each child by the researcher and took about 10 minutes. The results of the study revealed that there was no significant difference among Turkish kindergarten, nursery school and refugee children nursery school groups for abstraction scores based on gender and age groups. However, a significant difference was found between Turkish and refugee children for the cognitive flexibility scores. While the gender and age groups of Turkish and refugee children attending kindergarten had no significant differences for the abstraction component, there was a significant difference between gender and age groups for cognitive flexibility scores. For a more detailed analysis, studies dealing with high-level cognitive skills and working memory, one of the components of executive functions, are needed.
... In mathematics education, theoretical ideas about symbol grounding influenced and encouraged the use of physical models and manipulatives as a way to make abstract concepts directly perceivable (Sowell, 1989;Sarama and Clements, 2009;Carbonneau et al., 2013). Efficacy studies, however, yielded mixed results (Son et al., 2008;McNeil et al., 2009;Carbonneau et al., 2013;Mix et al., 2014;Mix et al., 2017) and no clear principles as to when physical models are helpful. Here, we propose a rethinking of physical models in education-not as a path to grounding, but as analogies that help learners discover inherently abstract relations. ...
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Very few questions have cast such an enduring effect in cognitive science as the question of “symbol-grounding”: Do human-invented symbol systems have to be grounded to physical objects to gain meanings? This question has strongly influenced research and practice in education involving the use of physical models and manipulatives. However, the evidence on the effectiveness of physical models is mixed. We suggest that rethinking physical models in terms of analogies, rather than groundings, offers useful insights. Three experiments with 4- to 6-year-old children showed that they can learn about how written multi-digit numbers are named and how they are used to represent relative magnitudes based on exposure to either a few pairs of written multi-digit numbers and their corresponding names, or exposure to multi-digit number names and their corresponding physical models made up by simple shapes (e.g., big-medium-small discs); but they failed to learn with traditional mathematical manipulatives (i.e., base-10 blocks, abacus) that provide a more complete grounding of the base-10 principles. These findings have implications for place value instruction in schools and for the determination of principles to guide the use of physical models.
... Initially when children start learning words, they form categories holistically without focusing attention to any particular features of the object being labeled (Kemler, 1983;Samuelson & Smith, 1999;Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008). Through experience with language, children's attention becomes tuned toward the regularities and features that matter for specific categories (e.g., shape for solid objects, shape and texture for animal categories, and material for non-solid substances) (Gasser & Smith, 1998;Jones, Smith, & Landau, 1991;Perry, Samuelson, & Burdinie, 2014;Yoshida & Smith, 2003a, Yoshida & Smith, 2003b. ...
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As children learn words, they develop attentional biases that support word learning but are hard to overcome. Predictive contextual cues may help increase attention to non-biased, or overlooked, features. This study sought to direct 3-year-old children’s attention to texture, a feature typically overlooked when categorizing new words early in development. During training, half of the children learned novel shape (a biased feature) and texture (an overlooked feature) categories with predictive cues, and half of the children learned the same categories with non-predictive cues. Children were then tested in a categorization task with novel texture words. The cues were present at test in Experiment 1 (N = 63) and absent in Experiment 2 (N = 37). Children in the predictive cue condition consistently chose the texture match more often than children in the non-predictive cue condition. These results inform our understanding of the cognitive mechanisms that may contribute to word learning.
... An efficient strategy to cope with the perceptual complexity of the real world is to utilize environmental regularities in order to generalize from a few experiences to broader categories (Son et al., 2008), and there is evidence that this process occurs automatically without conscious control (Sutherland et al., 2015). Furthermore, it has been suggested that the processing of environmental contingencies depends on the realistic appearance of experimental stimuli (Peelen & Kastner, 2014;Thanopoulos et al., 2018). ...
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The perception of temporal intervals changes during the life-span, and especially older adults demonstrate specific impairments of timing abilities. Recently, we demonstrated that timing performance and cognitive status are correlated in older adults, suggesting that timing tasks can serve as a behavioral marker for the development of dementia. Easy-to-administer and retest-capable timing tasks therefore have potential as diagnostic tools for tracking cognitive decline. However, before being tested in a clinical cohort study, a further validation and specification of the original findings is warranted. Here we introduce several modifications of the original task and investigated the effects of temporal context on time perception in older adults (> 65 years) with low versus high scores in the Montreal Cognitive Assessment survey (MoCA) and a test of memory functioning. In line with our previous work, we found that temporal context effects were more pronounced with increasing memory deficits, but also that these effects are stronger for realistic compared to abstract visual stimuli. Furthermore, we show that two distinct temporal contexts influence timing behavior in separate experimental blocks, as well as in a mixed block in which both contexts are presented together. These results replicate and extend our previous findings. They demonstrate the stability of the effect for different stimulus material and show that timing tasks can reveal valuable information about the cognitive status of older adults. In the future, these findings could serve as a basis for the development of a diagnostic tool for pathological cognitive decline at an early, pre-clinical stage.
... Thus, children detect the regularities of both names and physical properties of objects and abstract the shape bias as a result (Smith, 1999). Researchers fleshing out the attentional learning account have demonstrated that the strength of the shape bias varies according to object properties; for example, object complexity decreases shape bias strength (Son, Smith, & Goldstone, 2008;Tek, Jaffery, Swensen, Fein, & Naigles, 2012). Moreover, child characteristics are also critical, in that the shape bias has been shown to become operative in development only after children have acquired 50-100 count nouns (Samuelson & Smith, 1999;Smith et al., 2002), supporting the claim that the shape bias emerges from offline analyses of the noun-object-shape correlations (Colunga & Smith, 2008). ...
Article
Purpose: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate many mechanisms of lexical acquisition that support language in typical development; however, 1 notable exception is the shape bias. The bases of these children's difficulties with the shape bias are not well understood, and the current study explored potential sources of individual differences from the perspectives of both attentional and conceptual accounts of the shape bias. Method: Shape bias performance from the dataset of Potrzeba, Fein, and Naigles (2015) was analyzed, including 33 children with typical development (M = 20 months; SD = 1.6), 15 children with ASD with high verbal abilities (M = 33 months; SD = 4.6), and 14 children with ASD with low verbal abilities (M = 33 months; SD = 6.6). Lexical predictors (shape-side noun percentage from the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory; Fenson et al., 2007) and social-pragmatic predictors (joint attention duration during play sessions) were considered as predictors of subsequent shape bias performance. Results: For children in the low verbal ASD group, initiation of joint attention (positively) and passive attention (negatively) predicted subsequent shape bias performance, controlling for initial language and developmental level. Proportion of child's known nouns with shape-defined properties correlated negatively with shape bias performance in the high verbal ASD group but did not reach significance in regression models. Conclusions: These findings suggest that no single account sufficiently explains the observed individual differences in shape bias performance in children with ASD. Nonetheless, these findings break new ground in highlighting the role of social communicative interactions as integral to understanding specific language outcomes (i.e., the shape bias) in children with ASD, especially those with low verbal abilities, and point to new hypotheses concerning the linguistic content of these interactions. Presentation video: https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.7299581.
... Another factor that enables toddlers to learn letter-sound correspondences is the formation of visual letter representation through visual exposure to them. Studies assessing the development of visual object recognition showed that toddlers develop the ability to abstract visual objects from 17 to 24 months 28,29 . They need to recognize letters invariantly due to size and font changes and form abstract representations of them. ...
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Although the acquisition of letter-sound correspondences is a critical step in reading development, how and when children develop such correspondence remains relatively unexplored. In this study, we focused on Japanese hiragana letters to examine the implicit letter-sound correspondence using an eye-tracking technique for 80 Japanese-speaking toddlers. The results showed that 32- to 48-month-olds (but not 24- to 32-month-olds) directed their gaze at the target letter. An additional experiment on a letter-reading task showed that 32- to 40-month-olds could barely read the presented hiragana letters. These findings suggest that toddlers have already begun to grasp implicit letter-sound correspondences well before actually acquiring the ability to read letters.
... La simplification peut être effectuée aux niveaux lexicaux, syntaxiques ou sémantiques, mais aussi aux niveaux pragmatiques ou stylistiques. La simplification peut être utilisée dans deux contextes principaux : d'abord comme une aide proposée à des utilisateurs humains, ce qui garantit une meilleure accessibilité et une meilleure compréhension du contenu des documents [25,21,9,1,17], mais aussi en pré-traitement pour d'autres tâches et programmes de traitement automatique des langues (TAL), ce qui facilite le travail d'autres modules de TAL et permet de donner de meilleurs résultats [8,27,4,26,31,3]. Nous pouvons donc remarquer que cette tâche peut jouer un rôle important. ...
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L’objectif de la simplification automatique de textes est de transformer un texte technique ou difficile à comprendre en un document plus compréhensible. Le sens doit être préservé lors de cette transformation. La simplification automatique peut être effectuée à plusieurs niveaux (lexical, syntaxique, sémantique, ou encore stylistique) et repose sur des connaissances et ressources correspondantes (lexique, règles, …). Notre objectif consiste à proposer des méthodes et le matériel pour la création de règles de transformation acquis à partir d'un échantillon de paires de phrases parallèles différenciées par leur technicité. Nous proposons également une typologie de transformations et les quantifions. Nous travaillons avec des données en langue française liées au domain médical, même si nous estimons que notre méthode peut s'appliquer à n'importe quelle langue et n'importe quel domaine de spécialité.
... Specifically, infants show a developmental shift from slower, piecemeal processing of local perceptual features to faster, more holistic processing as they gain relevant experience and knowledge. While explanations for this shift often frame it in terms of increasing abstraction, e.g., [50], another non-exclusive explanation parallels the one above [46]. Namely, greater knowledge of objects with perceptual similarities (e.g., same category items) allows for easier recognition and mapping of shared perceptual features, resulting in richer, more coherent representations and faster, more holistic processing. ...
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While recent research suggests that toddlers tend to learn word meanings with many “perceptual” features that are accessible to the toddler’s sensory perception, it is not clear whether and how building a lexicon with perceptual connectivity supports attention to and recognition of word meanings. We explore this question in 24–30-month-olds (N = 60) in relation to other individual differences, including age, vocabulary size, and tendencies to maintain focused attention. Participants’ looking to item pairs with high vs. low perceptual connectivity—defined as the number of words in a child’s lexicon sharing perceptual features with the item—was measured before and after target item labeling. Results revealed pre-labeling attention to known items is biased to both high- and low-connectivity items: first to high, and second, but more robustly, to low-connectivity items. Subsequent object–label processing was also facilitated for high-connectivity items, particularly for children with temperamental tendencies to maintain focused attention. This work provides the first empirical evidence that patterns of shared perceptual features within children’s known vocabularies influence both visual and lexical processing, highlighting the potential for a newfound set of developmental dependencies based on the perceptual/sensory structure of early vocabularies.
... Simplification can be done at lexical, syntactic, semantic but also pragmatic and stylistic levels. Simplification can be useful in two main contexts: as help provided to human readers, which guarantees better access and understanding of the content of documents (Son et al., 2008;Paetzold and Specia, 2016;Arya et al., 2011;Leroy et al., 2013), and as a pre-processing step for other NLP tasks and applications, which makes easier the work of other NLP modules and may improve the overall results (Chandrasekar and Srinivas, 1997;Vickrey and Koller, 2008;Blake et al., 2007;Stymne et al., 2013;Wei et al., 2014;Beigman Klebanov et al., 2004). We can see that potentially this task may play an important role. ...
... lexical, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and structural). It can be useful for different kinds of human users: children (Son et al., 2008;De Belder and Moens, 2010;Vu et al., 2014), foreigners or poor-readers (Paetzold and Specia, 2016), people with neurodegenerative disorders (Chen et al., 2016), lay people reading specialized documents (Arya et al., 2011;Leroy et al., 2013). In these cases, simplification may guarantee a better access to the contents of documents. ...
Article
Numerous studies have shown that children tend to view objects with similar shapes as having the same category. However, these studies often adopt simple categorization tasks and ignore the perceptual dimension (e.g., surface pattern of objects) that likely attract children's attention. The purpose of this study was to test how children categorize when pattern competes against shape. In Experiment 1a children were presented with a target and several testing objects that shared the same shape, color, or texture as the target. The results indicated that children preferentially selected the shape‐sharing objects. However, when the texture was replaced by pattern (Experiment 1b), there was no significant difference between shape and pattern choices. When shared features were intricately overlapped between different pairs of stimuli (Experiment 2), children preferentially chose objects that shared patterns over those that shared shapes. These findings are the first to reveal children's pattern preference in categorization, supporting the view that children's categorization is flexible.
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Cytology training programmes have developed in piecemeal fashion over several decades, driven largely by enthusiasts in the field rather than education specialists. Evidence is lacking on how to enhance the learning experience for cytology trainees, thus hampering the smooth and rapid transition from novice to expert. Current strategies involve participation in standardised training programmes, exposure of learners to multiple exemplars of normal and pathological entities and regular assessment of performance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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In this chapter, we focus on the difficulties children face when learning place value and how current psychological theories of relational learning may be leveraged by teachers. We discuss two major psychological mechanisms known to support relational learning—statistical learning and structure mapping—and review the evidence showing how these mechanisms are implicated in place value learning. We further identify a set of four specific instructional elements teachers could use to engage and support these learning mechanisms. We also review three major curricula for teaching place value, including Developmentally Appropriate Mathematics, Number Talks, and the Montessori Method, in light of this conceptual framework. Our review highlights both strengths of these current curricula and ways they might be modified to more fully leverage relational learning mechanisms and increase student learning.
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Language and Mathematics are cornerstones of all educational programs and are vital to both an individual’s success as well as his or her country’s competitiveness. Despite their importance, there is no consensus on the best order or methods to teach early math and language, or even if these are necessary at all. Contributions from neuroscience are relatively new on the stage of early childhood education, though many can offer insights as to the correct hierarchical introduction of math and language skills. “Neuroconstructivism” is a term used to explain how the brain makes basic connections, then successively more complex ones until neural pathways are formed, permitting observable behavior. A better understanding of the logical building blocks of cognition may permit a more precise and orderly introduction of math and language skills in the early years. This international comparative literature review considered language and mathematical milestones in children 0-6 years old, then the contributions from neuroscience related to the early math and pre- literacy brain to see how current learning trajectories in education coincide or contradict neuroscientific evidence. Only slight changes are recommended about the order of skills introduction. More importantly, however, is that attention is called to the many sub-elements of each skill set which are often missed by parents and teachers, leading to gaps in linguistic or mathematical knowledge in small children and which may contribute to school failure in these areas. Finally, a recommendation to use an observational rubric of children’s math and language skills 0-6 years based on 16 neural networks is made.
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Many abilities reflect remarkable intelligences of humans: People make inferences, develop and use scientific theories, make laws, create, preserve, and pass knowledge on to new generations, write fiction, reason about past and future, and form counterfactual arguments. These abilities require sophisticated conceptual knowledge, much of which has to be acquired. Therefore, one of the most interesting and exciting challenges in the study of human cognition is to understand how people acquire this knowledge in the course of development and learning. This chapter addresses this challenge and reviews research on conceptual development that contributes to our understanding of these issues.
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Visual object recognition is foundational to processes of categorization, tool use, and real-world problem solving. Despite considerable effort across many disciplines and many specific advances, there is no comprehensive or well-accepted account of this ability. Moreover, none of the extant approaches consider how human object recognition develops. New evidence indicates a period of rapid change in toddlers' visual object recognition between 18 and 24 months that is related to the learning of object names and to goal-directed action. Children appear to shift from recognition based on piecemeal fragments to recognition based on geometric representations of three-dimensional shape. These findings may lead to a more unified understanding of the processes that make human object recognition as impressive as it is.
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This paper presents a robot architecture heavily inspired by neuropsychology, developmental psychology and research into "executive functions" (EF) which are responsible for the planning capabilities in humans. This architecture is presented in light of this inspiration, mapping the modules to the different functions in the brain. We emphasize the importance and effects of these modules in the robot, and their similarity to the effects in humans with lesions on the frontal lobe. Developmental studies related to these functions are also considered, focusing on how they relate to the robot's different modules and how the developmental stages in a child relate to improvements in the different modules in this system. An experiment with the iCub robot is compared with experiments with humans, strengthening this similarity. Furthermore we propose an extension to this system by integrating with "Epigenetics Robotic Architecture" (ERA), a system designed to mimic how children learn the names and properties of objects. In the previous implementation of this architecture, the robot had to be taught the names of all the necessary objects before plan execution, a learning step that was entirely driven by the human interacting with the robot. With this extension, we aim to make the learning process fully robot-driven, where an iCub robot will interact with the objects while trying to recognise them, and ask a human for input if and when it does not know the objects' names.
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Simplicity was recently described in the philosophy of science as “perhaps the most controversial theoretical virtue” (Schindler 2018). It has also been argued that contrary to the standard view, simplicity is not merely a pragmatic virtue but also an epistemic one. Virtue epistemologists are also interested in epistemic virtues, but simplicity is usually absent in their discussions. This paper adduces several contemporary approaches to simplicity showing that in philosophy and in psychology it can be considered either as a virtue or as a vice. The paper then refers to the thought of Thomas Aquinas as an example of a premodern understanding of the virtue simplicity and suggests that his notion of simplicity as a virtue might be developed today within virtue epistemology into an interesting complement to this “perhaps the most controversial theoretical virtue” (Schindler 2018) known from contemporary philosophy.
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With the ever increasing number of interfaces and tangible interfaces a person might be interacting with on a daily basis, we are eager to understand how the shape of those artifacts play a role in the interaction process. This study aims at understanding differences in the analysis of a volume and its affordances between different age groups: children (8 years old), and young adults (25 years old). Each participant was asked to associate one of three given tangible displays (each with a unique geometry) to a common task (usually done on computers or tablets). The tests were done with each display showing a single color (white) to evaluate the level of abstraction each age group was able to achieve. The children group was given a second test, with identical questions, but using video projected content on the three displays to compare their answers between an abstract representation and a direct visual representation. Despite the limited amount of test participants, these results indicate that higher levels of abstraction are understandable by older participants. However, the children showed they can perceive the ergonomic features of a volume and link a volume with the visualization and interaction of digital content. The results of the second test with the children also indicate that video projected images drastically modify their appreciation of a volume.
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Students often struggle with solving mechanism problems in organic chemistry courses. They frequently focus on surface features, have difficulty attributing meaning to symbols, and do not recognize tasks that are different from the exact tasks practiced. To be more successful, students need to be able to extract salient features, map similarities to problems seen previously, and extrapolate while solving problems. In short, students must be able to recognize and generate abstractions. To help students in learning to solve problems, we need a better understanding of the nature of students’ capacity for abstraction. Building upon an exploratory study (Sevian H., Bernholt S., Szteinberg G. A., Auguste S. and Perez L. C., (2015), Use of representation mapping to capture abstraction in problem solving in different courses in chemistry, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 16(3), 429–446), we applied the representation mapping model of Hahn and Chater (1998a) to characterize the abstraction employed by students while solving mechanistic problems in organic chemistry, and to measure students’ growth in abstraction capacity across a semester. This model operationalizes abstraction by considering (a) the ways in which students match existing knowledge to new instances (abstracting) and (b) the level of abstractness of students’ representations. We describe characteristic indicators of abstracting and abstractness. Trends were observable in the abstraction present in the reasoning of successful and unsuccessful problem solvers. Students who proposed plausible solutions used both strict or partial matching, but students who proposed implausible solutions tended to use strict matching. Students who proposed plausible solutions utilized higher levels of abstractness. This indicates that flexibility in abstraction processes may be important to successfully solve problems. The findings have implications for developing instructors’ assessment practices in ways that build students’ abstraction capacity.
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The shape bias is a mechanism that young children use when learning new words. Recent studies have suggested that some children with developmental disorders show difficulties with the shape bias. In the present paper, we focused on vocabulary learning and the shape bias in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Specifically, we discuss the theory and background for the shape bias as a word-learning mechanism in young children and then we provide some suggestions for possible remediations for children with ASD.
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In a comparison setting (two stimuli), we tested 4-and 6-year-old children's generalization of novel names for objects. We manipulated the semantic distance between the two learning items (e.g., two bracelets versus a bracelet and a watch), and the semantic distance between the learning items and the test items (e.g., a pendant versus a bow tie). We tested whether smaller semantic distance between learning items would lead to more taxonomic (vs. perceptual) choices at test, than broader semantic distance during learning, especially in the case of distant test stimuli. Results revealed main effects of learning distance, of generalization distance and that only children aged 6 years benefited from broader semantic during learning at test. Four year-old children failed to generalize to far test stimuli even with semantically distant learning items. We discuss how conceptual distance during learning differentially affects generalization performance across age groups.
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Relational categories are notoriously difficult to learn. We studied the impact of comparison on relational concept learning with a novel word learning task in 3-and 4-year olds. We contrasted a no-comparison (single) condition and two comparison conditions. In the latter case, the set of learning pairs was composed of either close or far pairs (e.g., close pair: knife1-watermelon, knife2-orange; far pair: ax-evergreen tree, saw-log, for the "cutter for" relation). We also manipulated the transfer stimuli semantic distance (near or distant semantic domain, e.g., a scissor for a piece of paper in the close case, and a shaver for a face in the far domain case). The no-comparison condition led to random generalizations in the younger group only. Overall the close learning condition and the near transfer condition led to good performance. We discuss these results in terms of the role of semantic distance and how participants integrate stimuli depending on distance.
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Categorizations which humans make of the concrete world are not arbitrary but highly determined. In taxonomies of concrete objects, there is one level of abstraction at which the most basic category cuts are made. Basic categories are those which carry the most information, possess the highest category cue validity, and are, thus, the most differentiated from one another. The four experiments of Part I define basic objects by demonstrating that in taxonomies of common concrete nouns in English based on class inclusion, basic objects are the most inclusive categories whose members: (a) possess significant numbers of attributes in common, (b) have motor programs which are similar to one another, (c) have similar shapes, and (d) can be identified from averaged shapes of members of the class. The eight experiments of Part II explore implications of the structure of categories. Basic objects are shown to be the most inclusive categories for which a concrete image of the category as a whole can be formed, to be the first categorizations made during perception of the environment, to be the earliest categories sorted and earliest named by children, and to be the categories most codable, most coded, and most necessary in language.
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Three studies (with a total of 92 female undergraduates) investigated the contention that stereotypes function as resource-preserving devices in mental life, using a dual-task paradigm. In Study 1, Ss formed impressions of targets while simultaneously monitoring a prose passage. The results demonstrated a significant enhancement in Ss' prose-monitoring performance when stereotype labels were present on the impression-formation task. To investigate the intentionality of this effect, in Study 2, the procedures used in Study 1 were repeated using a subliminal priming procedure to activate stereotypes. Subliminal activation of stereotypes produced the same resource-preserving effects as supraliminal activation did. This effect, moreover, was replicated in Study 3 when a probe reaction task was used to measure resource preservation. These findings, which generalized across a range of social stereotypes, are discussed in terms of their implications for contemporary models of stereotyping and social inference. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Proposes a model to account for recent findings on the time needed to decide that a test instance is a member of a target semantic category. It is assumed that the meaning of a lexical term can be represented by semantic features. Some of these features are essential or defining aspects of a word's meaning (defining features), while others are more accidental or characteristic aspects (characteristic features). This defining vs characteristic distinction is combined with a 2-stage processing mechanism in such a way that the 1st stage determines the similarity between the test instance and target category with respect to both defining and characteristic features, while the 2nd stage considers only agreement between defining features. This model is shown to be consistent with most semantic memory effects, and 2 experiments on category size and instance-category verification using undergraduates as Ss provide further detailed support for it. (11/2 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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[Correction Notice: An erratum for this article was reported in Vol 15(5) of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition (see record 2008-10689-001). On page 157, parts of two sentences in the Results and Discussion section were omitted. The corrected sentences are provided in the erratum.] Three experiments examined transfer between 2 isomorphic subdomains of algebra and physics. The two areas were arithmetic-progression problems in algebra and constant-acceleration problems in physics. High school and college students who had learned one of these subtopics were presented with word problems that used either content from the domain they had originally studied or content based on the unfamiliar but analogous domain. Ss who had learned arithmetic progressions were very likely to spontaneously recognize that physics problems involving velocity and distance can be addressed using the same equations. Analysis of problem-solving protocols revealed that the recognition was immediate and that the solutions were a straightforward application of the algebraic method. Such recognition occurred even when the algebraic procedures were taught using example word problems all of which were drawn from a single content area (e.g., "money" problems). In contrast, Ss who had learned the physics topic almost never exhibited any detectable transfer to the isomorphic algebra problems. The results were interpreted in terms of content-free vs content-specific applicability conditions for mathematical procedures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The effects of relevant concreteness on learning and transfer were investigated. Undergraduate students learned instantiations of an algebraic group. Some students were presented with representations that communicated concreteness relevant to the to-be-learned concept, while others learned generic representations involving abstract symbols. Results suggest that while relevant concreteness may facilitate learning, it hinders transfer of learning to novel isomorphic situations.
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Before one can understand or use any symbol, one must first realize that it is a symbol, that is, that it stands for or represents something other than itself. This article reports 4 studies investigating very young children's understanding of 2 different kinds of symbolic stimuli—scale models and pictures. The data replicate previous findings that 2.5-year-old children have great difficulty appreciating the relation between a scale model and the larger space it represents, but that they very readily appreciate the relation between a picture and its referent. This result is interpreted in terms of the dual orientation hypothesis. Models are difficult for young children because they require a dual representation—a child must think about a model both as an object itself and as a representation of something else. Because pictures are not salient as real objects, they do not require a dual representation. Several kinds of evidence supporting the dual orientation hypothesis are presented. An additional result was the occurrence of a transfer effect: Prior experience with a picture task led to better performance on a subsequent model task. This finding suggests that experience with a symbolic medium they understand can help young children figure out a different, unfamiliar medium that they would otherwise not understand.
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All of our categories consist in ways we behave differently toward different kinds of things, whether it be the things we do or don't, eat, mate with, or flee from, or the things that we describe, through our language, as prime numbers, affordances, or absolute discriminables. That is cognition is for -- and about.
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Despite a century's worth of research, arguments surrounding the question of whether far transfer occurs have made little progress toward resolution. The authors argue the reason for this confusion is a failure to specify various dimensions along which transfer can occur, resulting in comparisons of "apples and oranges." They provide a framework that describes 9 relevant dimensions and show that the literature can productively be classified along these dimensions, with each study situated at the intersection of Various dimensions. Estimation of a single effect size for far transfer is misguided in view of this complexity. The past 100 years of research shows that evidence for transfer under some conditions is substantial, but critical conditions for many key questions are untested.
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Analogical transfer in problem solving is one example of analogical cognition, which also includes metaphors, similes, and case-based reasoning. The dominant theories in this area posit that abstract schemata mediate transfer (K. J. Holyoak, 1984a, 1985) or that problem solving by means of analogy is accomplished through application of the formal or deep structural characteristics of one problem to another (D. Gentner, 1983, 1989). More recently, exemplar-based accounts (D. L. Medin & B. H. Ross, 1989; B. H. Ross, 1987) have emphasized problem content and exempias-specific details in the various stages of transfer. The present article reviews research on analogical transfer and analyzes the theoretical models in light of this evidence. An adequate theory of analogical transfer must account not only for the use of schematic knowledge but also for the importance of surface information in all stages of transfer (Reeves & Weisberg, 1993a). As such, it will be a hybrid of the various models presented, with exemplar-based models such as that of B. H. Ross as a base.
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People spontaneously discover new representations during problem solving. Discovery of a mathematical representation is of special interest, because it shows that the underlying structure of the problem has been extracted. In the current study, participants solved gear-system problems as part of a game. Although none of the participants initially used a mathematical representation, many discovered a parity-based, mathematical strategy during problem solving. Two accounts of the spontaneous discovery of mathematical strategies were tested. According to the automatic schema abstraction hypothesis, experience with multiple, unique problem exemplars facilitates extraction of the parity relation. According to the comparison-based abstraction hypothesis, explicitly comparing gear pathways that have different number, but the same parity, should result in extraction of parity. An event history analysis showed that accumulation of experiences with different-number, same-parity comparisons predicted discovery of parity; accumulation of unique exemplars did not. Results suggest that comparison-based abstraction processes can lead to the discovery of a mathematical relation.
Book
The goal of computational cognitive neuroscience is to understand how the brain embodies the mind by using biologically based computational models comprising networks of neuronlike units. This text, based on a course taught by Randall O'Reilly and Yuko Munakata over the past several years, provides an in-depth introduction to the main ideas in the field. The neural units in the simulations use equations based directly on the ion channels that govern the behavior of real neurons, and the neural networks incorporate anatomical and physiological properties of the neocortex. Thus the text provides the student with knowledge of the basic biology of the brain as well as the computational skills needed to simulate large-scale cognitive phenomena.The text consists of two parts. The first part covers basic neural computation mechanisms: individual neurons, neural networks, and learning mechanisms. The second part covers large-scale brain area organization and cognitive phenomena: perception and attention, memory, language, and higher-level cognition. The second part is relatively self-contained and can be used separately for mechanistically oriented cognitive neuroscience courses. Integrated throughout the text are more than forty different simulation models, many of them full-scale research-grade models, with friendly interfaces and accompanying exercises. The simulation software (PDP++, available for all major platforms) and simulations can be downloaded free of charge from the Web. Exercise solutions are available, and the text includes full information on the software.
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Analogy and similarity are often assumed to be distinct psychological processes. In contrast to this position, the authors suggest that both similarity and analogy involve a process of structural alignment and mapping, that is, that similarity is like analogy. In this article, the authors first describe the structure-mapping process as it has been worked out for analogy. Then, this view is extended to similarity, where it is used to generate new predictions. Finally, the authors explore broader implications of structural alignment for psychological processing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Research using change detection paradigms has demonstrated that only limited scene information remains available for conscious report following initial inspection of a scene. Previous researchers have found higher change identification rates for deletions of parts of objects in line drawings of scenes than additions. Other researchers, however, have found an asymmetry in the opposite direction for addition/deletion of whole objects in line drawings of scenes. Experiment 1 investigated subjects' accuracy in detecting and identifying changes made to successive views of high quality photographs of naturalistic scenes that involved the addition and deletion of objects, colour changes to objects, and changes to the spatial location of objects. Identification accuracy for deletions from scenes was highest, with lower identification rates for object additions and colour changes, and the lowest rates for identification of location changes. Data further suggested that change identification rates for the presence/absence of objects were a function of the number of identical items present in the scene. Experiment 2 examined this possibility further, and also investigated whether the higher identification rates for deletions found in Experiment 1 were found for changes involving whole objects or parts of objects. Results showed higher identification rates for deletions, but only where a unique object was deleted from a scene. The presence of an identical object in the scene abolished this deletion identification advantage. Results further showed that the deletion/addition asymmetry occurs both when the objects are parts of a larger object and when they are entire objects in the scene.
An evaluation of exemplar-based models of generalization was provided for ill-defined categories in a category abstraction paradigm. 72 undergraduates initially classified 35 high-level distortions into 3 categories, defined by 5, 10, and 20 different patterns, followed by a transfer test administered immediately and after 1 wk. The transfer patterns included old, new, prototype, and unrelated exemplars of which the new patterns were at 1 of 5 levels of similarity to a particular training (old) stimulus. In both experiments, increases in category size and old–new similarity facilitated transfer performance. However, the effectiveness of old–new similarity was strongly attenuated by increases in category size and delay of the transfer test. It is concluded that examplar-based generalization may be effective only under conditions of minimal category experience and immediacy of test; with continued category experience, performance on the prototype determines classification accuracy. (22 ref)
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We compared developmental changes in the processing of subordinate-superordinate relationships across 2 types of categories: perceptual, which contain visually similar exemplars (e. g., insects), and nonperceptual, which contain visually dissimilar exemplars (e. g., toys). Second, fifth, and eleventh graders and mentally retarded adolescents performed a semantic priming task to assess the automatic activation of category-instance relationships, and a category-verification task to assess the speed with which decisions about category membership are made. In the priming task, subjects named target pictures (e. g., dog) preceded by either a category prime ("This is an animal") or a neutral prime. We found that facilitative effects on target naming appeared at an earlier age for perceptual than for non-perceptual category primes. In the verification task, subjects responded yes or no to superordinate and basic level descriptions of pictures. Estimates of category-decision time decreased with age and intelligence for both types of categories, with these improvements in processing speed also occurring earlier in development for the perceptual categories. The combined results suggest that knowledge about subordinate-superordinate relationships develops earlier for perceptual than for nonperceptual categories.
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We ask if certain dimensions of perceptual similarity are weighted more heavily than others in determining word extension. The specific dimensions examined were shape, size, and texture. In four experiments, subjects were asked either to extend a novel count noun to new instances or, in a nonword classification task, to put together objects that go together. The subjects were 2-year-olds, 3-year- olds, and adults. The results of all four experiments indicate that 2- and 3-year-olds and adults all weight shape more heavily than they do size or texture. This ob- served emphasis on shape, however, depends on the age of the subject and the task. First, there is a developmental trend. The shape bias increases in strength and generality from 2 to 3 years of age and more markedly from early childhood to adulthood. Second, in young children, the shape bias is much stronger in word extension than in nonword classification tasks. These results suggest that the development of the shape bias originates in language learning-it reflects a fact about language-and does not stem from general perceptual processes.
Article
The hallmark of human cognition is symbolization: There is nothing that so clearly distinguishes us from other creatures as our creative and flexible use of symbols. Cultural creations such as writing systems, number systems, maps, and models-to name a few-have enabled human knowledge and reasoning to transcend time and space. My working definition of an external, artifactual symbol is that it is any entity that someone intends to stand for something other than itself. Note that this definition is agnostic about the nature of symbols; virtually anything can be a symbol, so long as some person intends that it be responded to not as itself, but in terms of what it represents. Adults are so experienced and skilled with symbols and symbolic reasoning that they simply assume that many of the novel entities they encounter will have symbolic import. They appreciate that such entities should be responded to as representations of something other than themselves and readily do so. My research reveals that children only gradually adopt this assumption. Despite the centrality of symbolization in human cognition and communication, young children are very conservative when it comes to detecting and reasoning about symbol-referent relations.
Article
Used a separated-stage paradigm in 2 experiments to test aspects of the general hypothesis that base analogs that are semantically remote from a target problem are more difficult to retrieve than those that are semantically closer. Ss were 46 university students in Exp I and 68 in Exp II. Exp I confirmed this hypothesis by finding that remote analogs were seldom retrieved relative to literal analogs. The results of Exp II falsified the hypothesis that analog retrieval is solely due to the recognition of an identical element. Finally, an ad hoc model of analog retrieval is proposed based on R. C. Schank's (1982) dynamic memory theory, and its consistency with the evidence and more general implications are considered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Novices attempting to solve a problem often are reminded of an earlier problem that illustrated a principle. Two experiments examined how these earlier problems are used and how this use is related to these remindings. Subjects studied four probability principles with related word problems. Test problems varied in their similarity to the study problems on story lines, objects, and correspondence of objects (variable roles). Experiment 1 tested whether remindings cue the principle or serve as the sources of detailed analogies. When the appropriate formula was provided with each test, the similarity of story lines had no effect, but object correspondences had a large effect. These results support an analogical account in which mapping is affected by the similarity of objects between study and test problems. Experiment 2 began to separate the aspects of similarity affecting the access and use of earlier problems by showing that, with confusable principles, similar story lines increased the access, but did not affect the use. The access appears to be sensitive to the relative similarity of examples because with distinctive principles, similar story lines had little effect. Discussion focuses on the further specification of the processes of noticing and analogical use of earlier problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The chapters in this book cover the significant recent developments in transfer of learning in a variety of contexts and areas. . . . The book brings together a widely scattered literature on transfer, yet provides some conceptual structure to the literature under review. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
[Correction Notice: An erratum for this article was reported in Vol 25(1) of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition (see record 2008-09597-001). As a result of errors made in production, two equations in the article were printed incorrectly. The corrected equations are included in the erratum.] Recent ideas about category learning have favored exemplar processes over prototype processes. However, research has focused on small, poorly differentiated categories and on task-final performances—both may highlight exemplar strategies. Thus, we evaluated participants' categorization strategies and standard categorization models at successive stages in the learning of smaller, less differentiated categories and larger, more differentiated categories. In the former case, the exemplar model dominated even early in learning. In the latter case, the prototype model had a strong early advantage that gave way slowly. Alternative models, and even the behavior of individual parameters within models, suggest a psychological transition from prototype-based to exemplar-based processing during category learning and show that different category structures produce different trajectories of learning through the larger space of strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
When solving a problem, people often access and make use of an earlier problem. A common view is that superficial similarities may affect which earlier problem is accessed, but they have little or no effect on how that earlier problem is used. The reported experiments provide evidence against this view. Subjects learned four probability principles illustrated by word problems. Test problems varied in their similarity to the study problems in three ways: story lines, objects, and correspondence of objects' roles (i.e., whether similar objects filled similar roles). The superficial similarity of object correspondences had a large effect on use (Experiment 1), although it sometimes had little or no effect on access (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 showed that two superficial similarities, story lines and object correspondences, differentially affect and use. These results suggest a more complex role of superficial similarity in problem solving and the need for distinguishing types of superficial similarities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Most theories dealing with ill-defined concepts assume that performance is based on category level information or a mixture of category level and specific item information. A context theory of classification is described in which judgments are assumed to derive exclusively from stored exemplar information. The main idea is that a probe item acts as a retrieval cue to access information associated with stimuli similar to the probe. The predictions of the context theory are contrasted with those of a class of theories (including prototype theory) that assume that the information entering into judgments can be derived from an additive combination of information from component cue dimensions. Across 4 experiments with 128 paid Ss, using both geometric forms and schematic faces as stimuli, the context theory consistently gave a better account of the data. The relation of context theory to other theories and phenomena associated with ill-defined concepts is discussed in detail. (42 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The sexing of day-old chicks has been regarded as an extraordinarily difficult perceptual task requiring years of extensive practice for its mastery. Experts can sex chicks at over 98% accuracy at a rate of 1,000 chicks per hour spending less than a half second viewing the cloacal region. Naive subjects were shown 18 pictures of cloacal regions of male and female chicks (in random appearing arrangement) and asked to judge the sex of each chick. The pictures included a number of rare and difficult configurations. The subjects were then instructed as to the location of a critical cloacal structure for which a simple contrast in shape (convex vs. concave or flat) could serve as an indicant of sex. When the subjects judged the pictures again (in a different order), accuracy increased from slightly above chance to a level comparable to that achieved by a sample of experts. The correlation (over items) between the naive subjects and the experts before instruction was .21; after instruction, .82. The instructions were based on an interview and observation of an expert who had spent 50 years sexing 55 million chicks. Much of the reported difficulty in developing perceptual expertise in this task may stem from the need to classify extremely rare configurations in which the convexity of the structure is not apparent. The rate of learning of these instances could be greatly increased through the use of simple instructions that specified the location of diagnostic contour contrasts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This chapter discusses the interrelationships between task structure, encoding and retrieval processes, and the prior knowledge of the learner, as these factors relate to transfer. It presents a distinction between perceived similarity of the training and transfer situations, based on salient common features of their representations, and objective structural similarity, based on the actual nature of the task components determining appropriate responses. Transfer is affected by both types of similarity. Perceived similarity determines whether transfer is attempted, whereas objective structural similarity determines whether transfer is positive or negative. The encoding of the training task fosters subsequent transfer to the extent that the learner acquires rules that are applicable to a range of superficially different tasks with structural commonalities. If the transfer task evokes similar goals and processing mechanisms, or has salient surface resemblances to the training task, these common components then serve as the basis for retrieval of the acquired knowledge in the transfer context. Several factors that influence learning and retention merit more extensive investigation in relation to transfer. One such factor is the role of context and contrast in determining the learner's representation of the training task.
Article
Studied, in 2 experiments, the ability of 208 kindergartners and 2nd graders to discover addition and deletion. Kindergarten and 2nd-grade children discovered items added to pictures more often and faster than items deleted from pictures. In Exp 1a and 1b, Ss experienced either 4 addition problems then 4 deletion problems, or 4 deletion problems then 4 addition problems. In Exp 2, Ss in one condition were instructed to name the important objects in the 1st picture of each problem. In another condition Ss were given a list of the important objects in the 1st picture of each problem by the experimenter. Control groups were not asked to create a list, nor given a list of the important objects. Ss in the condition in which they named the objects performed better than children in other conditions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
An experiment with the sequential touching technique investigated the role of object parts on 1- to 2-year-old infants’ ability to form basic-level categories (cows and cars) from two different superordinate domains. Using the novel task design developed by Rakison and Butterworth, infants were tested with normal category exemplars as well as modified versions that were made by removing or attaching object parts (legs and wheels). Results revealed a developmental trend whereby infants’ use of object parts in categorization decreased with age. Analyses of infants’ functional responses (e.g. jumping or rolling) suggested that they might initially associate different kinds of object movement with different kinds of parts.
Article
The effects of previously acquired information on a later problem solving task were explored. Prior research has shown that the acquisition of potentially relevant information is not effective for cuing solutions in a later problem solving task unless subjects are informed of the connection. The present research extends these results and demonstrates that the problem solving failure is not due to subjects’ rejecting the potentially relevant information following retrieval. Rather, the apparent failure to appropriately use previous information is a result of uninformed subjects’ inability to spontaneously access such information. Furthermore, the observed access failure is not reversible by simply informing the subjects of the task connection prior to a second trial. Finally, the results indicate that problem solving failure on a later informed trial is a problem-specific phenomenon that does not generalize to new problems. The implications for contemporary episodic memory paradigms and the role of access in learning theory are discussed.
Article
Subjects typically show superior discriminative performance when a distinguishing feature appears on reinforced rather than nonreinforced trials. The phenomenon is usually attributed to the relative predictiveness of the reinforcer by different stimulus elements. However, stimulus addition may be more effective than stimulus deletion as a signal. By removing the standard intertriai intervals, we made addition and deletion equally predictive of the reinforcer in four operant experiments involving between- and within-subject comparisons. Pigeons consistently performed better on operant discriminations when the addition rather than deletion of an auditory or visual stimulus served as the cue for food. This general finding persisted despite manipulation of the relative duration and localizability of the signal. Thus mere presence as opposed to absence plays a role in the feature-positive superiority, an outcome that may reflect a fundamental, biologically based difference between addition and deletion as effective signals of reinforcement.
Article
Six experiments explored the hypothesis that the members of categories which are considered most prototypical are those with most attributes in common with other members of the category and least attributes in common with other categories. In probabilistic terms, the hypothesis is that prototypicality is a function of the total cue validity of the attributes of items. In Experiments 1 and 3, subjects listed attributes for members of semantic categories which had been previously rated for degree of prototypicality. High positive correlations were obtained between those ratings and the extent of distribution of an item's attributes among the other items of the category. In Experiments 2 and 4, subjects listed superordinates of category members and listed attributes of members of contrasting categories. Negative correlations were obtained between prototypicality and superordinates other than the category in question and between prototypicality and an item's possession of attributes possessed by members of contrasting categories. Experiments 5 and 6 used artificial categories and showed that family resemblance within categories and lack of overlap of elements with contrasting categories were correlated with ease of learning, reaction time in identifying an item after learning, and rating of prototypicality of an item. It is argued that family resemblance offers an alternative to criterial features in defining categories.
Article
The hypothesis of the study was that the domains of color and form are structured into nonarbitrary, semantic categories which develop around perceptually salient “natural prototypes.” Categories which reflected such an organization (where the presumed natural prototypes were central tendencies of the categories) and categories which violated the organization (natural prototypes peripheral) were taught to a total of 162 members of a Stone Age culture which did not initially have hue or geometric-form concepts. In both domains, the presumed “natural” categories were consistently easier to learn than the “distorted” categories. Even when not central, natural prototype stimuli tended to be more rapidly learned and more often chosen as the most typical example of the category than were other stimuli. Implications for general differences between natural categories and the artificial categories of concept formation research were discussed.
Article
The study investigated the effect of transfer between two problems having similar (homomorphic) problem states. The results of three experiments revealed that although transfer occurred between repetition of the same problems, transfer occurred between the Jealous Husbands problem and the Missionary—Cannibal problem only when (a) Ss were told the relationship between the two problems and (b) the Jealous Husbands problem was given first. The results are related to the formal structure of the problem space and to alternative explanations of the use of analogy in problem solving. These include memory for individual moves, memory for general strategies, and practice in applying operators.
Article
The present study investigated whether preschool children recognize numerical equivalence between sets that vary in similarity. The relation between emergence of accurate numerical equivalence judgments and acquisition of the conventional counting system was also explored. The results of this investigation provide evidence for two main conclusions. First, the ability to recognize numerical equivalence for different sets emerges gradually during the period from 3 to 4 years of age depending on the degree of overall similarity between the sets. Second, conventional counting ability is linked to success on some but not all comparisons, suggesting that acquisition of the labels for various set sizes might aid in abstraction of numerical relations.
Article
This article offers a new perspective on the use of concrete objects to teach mathematics. It is commonly assumed that concrete manipulatives are effective because they allow children to perform mathematics without understanding arbitrary, written mathematical symbols. We argue that the sharp distinction between concrete and abstract forms of mathematical expression may not be justified. We believe instead that manipulatives are also symbols; teachers intend for them to stand for or represent a concept or written symbol. Consequently, research on how young children comprehend symbolic relations is relevant to studying their comprehension of manipulatives. We review evidence that many of the problems that children encounter when using manipulatives are very similar to problems that they have using other symbol systems such as scale models. Successful use of manipulatives depends on treating them as symbols rather than as substitutes for symbols.
Article
Considerable evidence indicates that domain specific knowledge in the form of schemas is the primary factor distinguishing experts from novices in problem-solving skill. Evidence that conventional problem-solving activity is not effective in schema acquisition is also accumulating. It is suggested that a major reason for the ineffectiveness of problem solving as a learning device, is that the cognitive processes required by the two activities overlap insufficiently, and that conventional problem solving in the form of means-ends analysis requires a relatively large amount of cognitive processing capacity which is consequently unavailable for schema acquisition. A computational model and experimental evidence provide support for this contention. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Article
Many word meanings seem to have a mixture of two representational types, sometimes known as characteristic and defining features. It is proposed that meanings typically develop from representations in which characteristic features predominate to those in which defining features become more central. (The same shift can also be described without the assumption of featural decomposition of meaning.) A study with preschool and elementary school children confirmed this proposal by showing that children's judgments of whether brief stories described valid instances of a concept shifted in a manner predicted by these hypotheses.
Article
People spontaneously discover new representations during problem solving. Discovery of a mathematical representation is of special interest, because it shows that the underlying structure of the problem has been extracted. In the current study, participants solved gear-system problems as part of a game. Although none of the participants initially used a mathematical representation, many discovered a parity-based, mathematical strategy during problem solving. Two accounts of the spontaneous discovery of mathematical strategies were tested. According to the automatic schema abstraction hypothesis, experience with multiple, unique problem exemplars facilitates extraction of the parity relation. According to the comparison-based abstraction hypothesis, explicitly comparing gear pathways that have different number, but the same parity, should result in extraction of parity. An event history analysis showed that accumulation of experiences with different-number, same-parity comparisons predicted discovery of parity; accumulation of unique exemplars did not. Results suggest that comparison-based abstraction processes can lead to the discovery of a mathematical relation.
Article
Questions the metric and dimensional assumptions that underlie the geometric representation of similarity on both theoretical and empirical grounds. A new set-theoretical approach to similarity is developed in which objects are represented as collections of features and similarity is described as a feature-matching process. Specifically, a set of qualitative assumptions is shown to imply the contrast model, which expresses the similarity between objects as a linear combination of the measures of their common and distinctive features. Several predictions of the contrast model are tested in studies of similarity with both semantic and perceptual stimuli. The model is used to uncover, analyze, and explain a variety of empirical phenomena such as the role of common and distinctive features, the relations between judgments of similarity and difference, the presence of asymmetric similarities, and the effects of context on judgments of similarity. The contrast model generalizes standard representations of similarity data in terms of clusters and trees. It is also used to analyze the relations of prototypicality and family resemblance. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Analogical transfer in problem solving is one example of analogical cognition, which also includes metaphors, similes, and case-based reasoning. The dominant theories in this area posit that abstract schemata mediate transfer ( K. J. Holyoak, 1984a, 1985) or that problem solving by means of analogy is accomplished through application of the formal or deep structural characteristics of one problem to another ( D. Gentner, 1983, 1989). More recently, exemplar-based accounts ( D. L. Medin & B. H. Ross, 1989; B. H. Ross, 1987) have emphasized problem content and exemplar-specific details in the various stages of transfer. The present article reviews research on analogical transfer and analyzes the theoretical models in light of this evidence. An adequate theory of analogical transfer must account not only for the use of schematic knowledge but also for the importance of surface information in all stages of transfer ( Reeves & Weisberg, 1993a). As such, it will be a hybrid of the various models presented, with exemplar-based models such as that of B. H. Ross as a base., (C) 1994 by the American Psychological Association