Honoring Different Ontological Boundaries: The Role of Language in Category Formation


The present study examines the different ways in which language structure marks individuation and cue early attention in a novel noun generalization task. Results in the present study extends the Boundary Shift Hypothesis, suggesting that the linguistic boundary between individuals and nonindividuals influences the perceptual boundaries and the correlational patterns formed overtime between ontological kinds. The results provide a new perspective on the facilitative role of linguistic markers in category formations, rather than strictly in boundary formations. This demonstrates the potential degree of cognitive processing among different language learners and lends support towards a mechanistic explanation of the role of language in categorical formations.

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