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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses what children’s concepts reveal about classic debates in developmental psychology. It is argued that throughout development, concepts are multifaceted, reflecting their varied functions. As a result, children’s concepts (a) are early emerging but undergo qualitative change, (b) obey domain-general principles yet are embedded in domain-specific knowledge structures, (c) are actively constructed but deeply informed by input, (d) are flexible but constrained, and (e) include both statistics and theory. The interplay between different levels of analysis, different sources of knowledge, and different developmental processes may itself provide an important engine for conceptual growth and change.

Keywords: concepts, categories, developmental psychology, naïve theories, language, knowledge acquisition

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