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Taxonomic Knowledge: What Kind and When?

Joan Lucariello, Amy Kyratzis and Katherine Nelson
Child Development
Vol. 63, No. 4 (Aug., 1992), pp. 978-998
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131248
Page Count: 21
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Taxonomic Knowledge: What Kind and When?
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Abstract

Taxonomic knowledge may be distinguished into several forms: horizontal, representing links between items at the same level of a taxonomic hierarchy (e. g., dog-cow), and vertical, representing links between items at different hierarchical levels (e. g., dog-animal). Horizontal relations include 3 category types: slot-filler (based on constrained function, i. e., shared function within an event), conventional subcategory (based on constrained, but not event-based, function and/or on arbitrary cultural groupings), and conventional superordinate (based on unconstrained function). 3 experiments-category production, word association, and forced-picture-choice-explored taxonomic and thematic/schematic knowledge in 4- and 7-year-old children and adults. Results showed preschooler taxonomic knowledge to be restricted to slot-filler categories. Conventional horizontal relations and vertical taxonomic knowledge emerged with age. Slot-fillers played a role in these developments of taxonomic knowledge. Also developing was task/context sensitive responding, with 7-, but not 4-year-olds, relying on distinct forms of knowledge across tasks.

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