Attention and the Development of Inductive Generalization: Evidence from Recognition Memory


Induction, the ability to generalize knowledge from known to novel instances, is essential for human learning. This study investigates how attention allocation during category learning and induction affects what information is represented and encoded to memory. In Experiment 1 5-year-olds and adults learned rule-based categories. They were then presented with an Induction-then-Recognition task. Similar to previous results with familiar categories, children exhibited better memory for items than adults. In Experiment 2, adults learned similarity-based categories and then were presented with an Induction-then-Recognition task. In this condition, adults’ memory was as good as children’s memory in Experiment 1. These results indicate that the way categories are represented affects the way induction is performed.

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