Speaking of kinds: How generic language shapes the development of category representations

Emily Foster-Hanson & Marjorie Rhodes
Generic language (e.g., “tigers have stripes”) facilitates conceptual development, by leading listeners to assume that the referenced categories (e.g., tigers) are inductively informative and have causal-explanatory power over the behavior of individual members. The present studies (N = 441 children aged 5-7 years and adults) considered the mechanisms by which generic language has these effects. By examining what listeners learn from generics that are later falsified, the present studies revealed a unique role of the...
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