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Cognitive Development 15 2000 457 479 Relative contributions of kind and domain level concepts to expectations concerning unfamiliar exemplars Developmental change and domain differences Pascal Boyera Nathalie Bedoinb Sandrine Honore c a Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Lyon France Laboratoire d Etude des Me canismes Cognitifs Universite Lumie re Lyon France c Doctoral Programme De partement de Psychologie Cognitive Universite Lumie re Lyon France b Received 1 July 1999 accepted 1 July 2000 Abstract Two inferential routes allow children to produce expectations about new instances of ontological categories like animal and artefact One is to generalise information from a look up table of familiar kind concepts The other one is to use independent expectations at the level of ontological domains Our experiment pits these two sources of information against each other using a sentence judgement task associating properties with images of familiar and unfamiliar artefacts and animals Strange properties are compatible with the ontological concept but not encountered in any familiar kind A look up strategy would lead children to reject them and an independent expectation strategy to accept them In both domains we find a difference in reaction to strange properties associated with familiar vs unfamiliar items which shows that even young children do use independent domain level information We also found a U shaped curve in propensity to use such abstract information In addition animal categories are the object of much more definite domain level expectations which supports the notion that the animal domain is more causally integrated than the artefact domain D 2001 Elsevier Science Inc All rights reserved Keywords Concepts Domain specificity Category specificity Animal Artefact Corresponding author Washington University Campus Box 1114 One Brookings Drive St Louis MO 63130 USA Tel 1 314 935 7280 fax 1 314 935 8535 E mail address pboyer artsci wustl edu P Boyer 0885 2014 00 see front matter D 2001 Elsevier Science Inc All rights reserved PII S 0 8 8 5 2 0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 8 458 P Boyer et al Cognitive Development 15 2000 457 479 1 Introduction Children between 3 and 10 develop a large number of kind concepts for animals and artefacts This is clear in the lexical explosion that occurs at the beginning of that developmental period Clark 1993 and in children s performance in categorisation tasks Gopnik Meltzoff 1987 Most of these concepts correspond roughly to the basic level of categorisation where between classes similarity is reduced and within classes similarity is maximal Dickinson 1988 Hall 1993 Waxman 1991 These are for instance concepts of giraffe cow car or telephone Count nouns are generally associated with such kind concepts rather than with superordinates subordinates part or propertyconcepts Waxman Markow 1995 Children also develop from infancy more abstract concepts for superordinates of the basic concepts e g animal artefact or person



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