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Infant Perception and CognitionRecent Advances, Emerging Theories, and Future Directions$
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Lisa Oakes, Cara Cashon, Marianella Casasola, and David Rakison

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195366709

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366709.001.0001

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The Role of Auditory Stimuli in Infant Categorization

The Role of Auditory Stimuli in Infant Categorization

(p.203) 10 The Role of Auditory Stimuli in Infant Categorization
Infant Perception and Cognition

Kim Plunkett

Oxford University Press

This chapter distinguishes two accounts—supervised name-based categorization and unsupervised feature-based categorization—and describes a neurocomputational model of infant visual categorization, based on self-organizing maps, that implements the unsupervised, feature-based approach. The model successfully reproduces experiments demonstrating the impact of labeling on infant visual categorization reported in Plunkett, Hu, and Cohen (2008). The model predicts that the impact of labels on categorization is influenced by the perceived similarity and the sequence in which the objects are presented to infants, and that the observed behavior in infants is due to a transient form of learning that might lead to the emergence of hierarchically organized categorical structure. The results suggest that early in development, say before twelve months of age, labels need not act as invitations to form categories, nor highlight the commonalities between objects, but may play a more mundane but nevertheless powerful role as additional features that are processed in a similar fashion to other features characterizing objects and object categories.

Keywords:   infant information processing, name-based categorization, visual categorization, labeling

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