Acquiring Inductive Constraints from Self-Generated Evidence

Zi SimUniversity of California, Berkeley
Fei XuUniversity of California, Berkeley


Several recent theoretical proposals suggest that young children are rational, constructivist learners (e.g. Gopnik & Wellman, 2012; Xu & Kushnir, 2012; 2013). One of the claims made under constructive learning is that children are active learners – they selectively attend and explore their environment in order to maximize information gain (e.g., Kidd, Piantadosi, & Aslin, 2012; Schulz & Bonawitz, 2007). Most studies to date, however, have focused on how efficiently children learn when they are given evidence by an experimenter (‘teacher’), under conditions of training: children receive a restricted set of evidence, and they are subsequently tested on their learning. Yet children are not mere observers; they actively engage their environment to supplement their learning. In our experiment, 3-year-old children successfully acquired higher-order generalizations using self-generated evidence during free play, suggesting an early capacity to engage in self-directed learning.


Acquiring Inductive Constraints from Self-Generated Evidence (168 KB)

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