Toddlers' categorization of typical and scrambled dolls and cars

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Previous research has demonstrated discrimination of scrambled from typical human body shapes at 15–18 months of age [Slaughter, V., & Heron, M. (2004). Origins and early development of human body knowledge. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 69]. In the current study 18-, 24- and 30-month-old infants were presented with four typical and four scrambled dolls in a sequential touching procedure, to assess the development of explicit categorization of human body shapes. Infants were also presented with typical and scrambled cars, allowing comparison of infants’ categorization of scrambled and typical exemplars in a different domain. Spontaneous comments regarding category membership were recorded. Girls categorized dolls and cars as typical or scrambled at 30 months, whereas boys only categorized the cars. Earliest categorization was for typical and scrambled cars, at 24 months, but only for boys. Language-based knowledge, coded from infants’ comments, followed the same pattern. This suggests that human body knowledge does not have privileged status in infancy. Gender differences in performance are discussed.

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Journal Article

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