Studied the use of prototypes and distinctive features in visual pattern classification with 12 Ss at each of 3 age levels: 4, 5, and 6 yrs. All Ss attended day-care centers in middle-class neighborhoods of metropolitan Canadian areas. Two tasks were performed: (a) an oddity task requiring selection of the odd pattern in problems containing 2 patterns generated from 1 prototype and 1 from another, and (b) a sequential task requiring designation from memory of each pattern's class membership. There was a marked improvement in oddity task classification accuracy between the 4- and 5-yr age levels. Performance at each age level could be predicted from measures of deviation from prototype and 2 distinctive features unrelated to pattern class membership. In the more difficult sequential task, the preschoolers did not respond to an entire set of features as subsumed in prototype measures, but a single class-defining feature significantly predicted the classifications of the 4- and 5-yr-olds. It is concluded that the ability to use single features develops prior to the ability to use a feature list or prototype and that both distinctive features and prototypes are important for perceptual learning and development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
- prototypes & distinctive features, development of visual pattern classification, 4 vs 5 vs 6 yr olds
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies