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NeoconstructivismThe New Science of Cognitive Development$
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Scott Johnson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331059

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331059.001.0001

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Similarity, Induction, Naming, and Categorization: A Bottom-up Approach

Similarity, Induction, Naming, and Categorization: A Bottom-up Approach

(p.274) CHAPTER 14 Similarity, Induction, Naming, and Categorization: A Bottom-up Approach

Vladimir M. Sloutsky

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers two broad theoretical approaches to cognitive development. One approach advocates the importance of a priori constraints in cognitive development (i.e. the top-down approach). The other approach argues that people have powerful learning mechanisms enabling them to extract regularities from the input (i.e. the bottom-up approach). It then reviews a recently proposed bottom-up model of inductive generalization and several phenomena predicted by the model; some of these phenomena present challenges to the top-down approach. It focuses on the role of label and appearance information in induction and presents evidence that labels affect induction by contributing to the overall similarity of compared items. The chapter also considers a mechanism that may underlie the effects of labels on generalization. It suggests that labels (and other sounds) contribute to similarity by overshadowing (or attenuating processing of) corresponding visual input, and presents supporting evidence from studies with infants and young children. Finally, the chapter discusses how effects of words may change in the course of development as a function of increasing familiarity of human speech.

Keywords:   top-down learning, bottom-up learning, cognitive development, categorization

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