The Development of Categorization
The major objective of this research is to better understand the functional significance of
object categorization in early development. The proposed work is designed to examine the
emergence of organization in toddlers' internal representations of real-world categories
such as furniture and fruit. Representation, in this capacity, refers simply to stored
information that can influence later behavior. Categorization refers to the treatment of
discriminable as equivalent in some way.
Even young infants appear capable of categorizing diverse sets of discriminable patterns and
objects, and can form internal representations of such bounded collections. Much less is
known, however, about changes leading from this basic capacity to the highly structured
concepts that are characteristics of children's and adults category knowledge. The present
research is designed to characterize the course of these changes between infancy and
The primary research strategy to be used consists of analyzing toddlers' examination and
manipulation of familiar objects that are similar within adult-defined categories than
between such categories. The organization and temporal structure of children's actions on
the objects will be coded and analyzed to infer the similarity relations that are perceived
among of each stimulus set.
Claude Sportes, M.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
United States: Federal Government
|National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike||Bethesda, Maryland 20892|