What is it about?
We can seamlessly interact with the complex world around us thanks in part to categories we have learned that help us organize sensory information. We can tell the differences between dogs and cats, screams of laughter or fear, and whether a banana is ripe or not based on our categories of sights, sounds, smells, touch, and tastes. We looked at how 8-12-year-old children and adults learn to group arbitrary sounds and visual objects into different categories. Unsurprisingly, we found that adults outperformed children in each of our different learning tasks. However, we found that adults were much better than children at some types of problems, which we link to the development of real-world skills like speech perception and reading.
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Why is it important?
Category learning supports foundational skills that are important across development such as speech perception and reading. Understanding how children develop cognitive abilities and learn differently from adults can help us better understand the real-world learning challenges children encounter and overcome throughout development.
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This page is a summary of: Auditory and visual category learning in children and adults., Developmental Psychology, March 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/dev0001525.
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