A Disadvantage of Comparison and Contrast in Object Label Learning

AbstractMultiple studies demonstrate benefits of comparison and contrast for learning relational, taxonomic, and abstract categories. This study examined the effects of comparison and contrast with learning non-relational perceptual information, specifically on 3-year-old children’s learning of labels for novel shape categories. There were four between-subject conditions: comparison, contrast (informative), contrast (neutral), and one-example. Each condition heard the novel word three times, the difference was in the number of objects (one-example vs. the rest) and the object presentations (comparative vs. contrastive). The test asked children to extend the label to a new example of the category. The results counter-intuitively show that learning from one example outperforms learning from multiple examples via comparison or contrast, suggesting a detrimental role of comparison and contrast for shape categories for children at this level of vocabulary knowledge.

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