Is the most representative skunk the average or the stinkiest? Developmental changes in representations of biological categories

Emily Foster-Hanson & Marjorie Rhodes
People often think of categories in terms of their most representative examples (e.g., robin for BIRD). Thus, determining which exemplars are most representative is a fundamental cognitive process that shapes how people use concepts to navigate the world. The present studies (N = 669; ages 5 years – adulthood) revealed developmental change in this important component of cognition. Studies 1-2 found that young children view exemplars with extreme values of characteristic features (e.g., the very...
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