The effect of stimulus type on children's spontaneous inductions Using recognition memory as an indicator of categorization

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Description: The current study investigated the effects of three-dimensional (3-D) versus pictorial representations of animals on preschoolers' versus adults' inductions and resulting recognition memory. Sloutsky and Fisher (2004b) found that adults' recognition memory for pictures was worse after an induction task than a baseline task, whereas young children's recognition memory was unaffected by task. They argued that children make similarity-based inductions, processing stimuli for details and thus recognizing them later, whereas adults make category-based inductions and process stimuli only for gist in an induction task, accounting for their poor recognition of the stimuli later. In this study, we predicted that 3-D stimuli would help children make category-based inductions. Given 3-D stimuli, children were expected to form gist-level memory traces and have poorer memory following an induction as compared to baseline task. Eighty-one preschoolers ( M age = 59.16 months) and 91 Villanova undergraduates ( M age = 19.5 years) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions (baseline or induction with 3-D or picture stimuli) and were subsequently given a recognition memory test with both new and previously studied items. Contrary to predictions, stimulus type did not differentially affect children's memory performance following induction. Also, in contrast to Fisher and Sloutsky's findings, both our children's and adults' memories were poorer following induction than baseline tasks. However, like Fisher and Sloutsky, our adults had a wider difference in memory performance between conditions than our children. Similarities and differences between the results of the studies are discussed and a new interpretation is offered.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work