Development of selective attention in category learning

Abstract

Categorization, the process of grouping distinguishable entities into equivalence classes, is an essential component of human cognition. Although it has been often argued that selective attention is an important component of categorization, organism with immature selective attention (such as human infants or young children) exhibit the ability to learn categories. This research addresses this apparent paradox by examining attention allocation in the course of category learning across development. Results suggest that while some young children are able to attend selectively, adults more flexibly deploy selective attention according to task demands.


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