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Title: Categorisation in infants and adults : perceptual saliency as a function of timing
Author: Spencer, Janine V.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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Concepts mentally represent categories of entities in the world. They are thought to be fundamental to thinking. Of primary concern is whether conceptual information is at the core of infants' representations of categories, or if infants first learn to classify on a purely perceptual basis. The relationship between perceptual and conceptual categorisation has been conceived of in terms of a dichotomy. I argue, however, that both perceptual and conceptual information are constrained by the amount of time the cognitive system has to process information. In this thesis, I investigate the relative weighting of perceptual information under time pressure at the beginning of conceptual development, in infants, and when conceptual development is complete, in adults. The effects of timing on categorisation were investigated in 16 experiments with infants and adults. Experiments 1 to 3 utilised the familiarisation/novelty preference procedure with 4-month-old infants. The experiments demonstrated that when processing time is limited, infants show a marked preference for the highly-diagnostic information. With increased looking time, less diagnostic information is incorporated into the object representation. Experiments 4 to 16 revealed that the properties adults use in rapid categorisation tasks correspond to those of infants, and are therefore not a function of age. Rather, how subjects perceive, process and assign relative weighting to different properties in categorising objects is dependent on timing constraints.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available