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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The ability to form mental representations—or concepts—and to use these representations to group things in the world—or categorize—is fundamental to human cognition. Research on the development of this ability has been ongoing for over three decades and has illuminated a number of important findings on when and what infants and young children are able to categorize. In this chapter, we summarize the different domain-specific and domain-general theories for early concept formation, outline the methods used to study categorization in different age groups, and describe the most prominent developmental research findings on categorization and induction. We also highlight shortcomings in the current approaches and suggest future directions for the field that will help to elucidate more clearly the mechanisms that underpin early category and concept formation.

Keywords: infancy, preschoolers, categorization, induction, language, domain-specific, domain- general, learning mechanisms

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