Written by Lisa M. OAKES, Kristine A. KOVACK-LESH on . Posted in Special issue: The Development of Categorization, Guest Editors: Thea IONESCU, Robert L. GOLDSTONE, Volume XI, Nr. 4


Because categorization is a real-time, dynamic process, infants� categorization and memory are intertwined. When familiarized with a series of items from one category and then tested with new items from that category and different categories, infants� memory processes are engaged, and their responding during test reveals what information they remembered. Moreover, what infants remember will be complexly determined by multiply interacting factors. We report data consistent with this framework. Experiment 1 revealed that, unlike in object-examining (Oakes, Coppage, & Dingel, 1997), within-category variability does not influence 10-month-old infants� responding to the distinction between land and sea animals in a visual familiarization task. Experiment 2 showed that although 6-month-old infants can respond to some categorical distinctions when items are presented one at a time (Oakes & Ribar, 2005), their sensitivity to the more difficult distinction of land animals versus sea animals was enhanced by presenting items in pairs.

KEYWORDS: categorization, infants, memory, habituation.