Children's attention to rigid and deformable shape in naming and non-naming tasks

Samuelson, Larissa K. ORCID: and Smith, Linda B. (2000) Children's attention to rigid and deformable shape in naming and non-naming tasks. Child Development, 71 (6). pp. 1555-1570. ISSN 0009-3920

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


In four experiments with three-year-olds (N= 67), we investigate children's understanding of the differential importance of shape for categorization of solid rigid objects with fixed shapes and solid but deformable objects with shapes that can be changed. In a non-naming task we find that young children categorize rigid and deformable things differently and know that material is important for deformable things and shape for rigid things. In two naming tasks, however, children generalize names for both solid and deformable objects by shape similarity and disregard rigidity. To understand this pattern of results we examine a corpus of early-learned nouns and the kinds of rigid and nonrigid things named by nouns in that corpus. The results suggest that names for categories of solid, rigid objects in which instances are similar in shape dominate children's early noun vocabularies. We suggest that children's novel word generalizations for deformable things may be overgeneralizations of this dominant pattern.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Cognition, Action and Perception
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2015 16:01
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 02:43
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8624.00248

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item