Preschoolers inductive selectivity as a function of implicit and conceptual learning
Since pre-school age, children rely on contextual information while generalizing information about new objects. It is still uncertain what underlies this inductive selectivity; whether it is associative learning, which depends on the numbers of features that an object has, or conceptual learning, which depends on the features’ content. In the first experiment, we varied the contextual information and found that 4-5-year-olds rely more on contextual features of the object (shape and colour of the background), but not on spatial ones (location). In the second experiment we varied the combination of context features and showed that, given a lack of information about an object (shape only), children rely on contextual spatial features more than on the object’s features. Moreover, they prefer not to rely on contextual information at all if the object’s information was modified (same shape but different colour). Together, these results indicate the dependence of inductive selectivity on conceptual learning, not only associative learning.