It is widely accepted nowadays that preschool children have much more sophisticated categorization abilities than previously thought. Although there is a vast literature on thematic and taxonomic categorization at this age, we still know little about whether and how children flexibly switch between these sources of information. The present paper gives an overview about what we know so far in this area. After reviewing some of the studies that investigate flexible object categorization in children, the article summarizes results about the factors that can influence the expression of this ability in preschoolers (e.g., instructions, type of task, and cognitive inhibition). In the end, we discuss the implications for research in cognitive development, as well as for education.
KEYWORDS: categorization, flexibility, preschool children.