Early Categorization Skills

Infants can categorize objects in their environment at a very early age.  We are particularly interested in the type of categories infants form during the first two years of life and how they do it. Can infants distinguish between animate and inanimate entities?  What are the properties that infants are sensitive to when grouping objects? Do bilingual infants benefit from exposure to labels in forming categories as much as monolinguals? Some of our recent work has shown that by 14 months of age, infants recognize that people and animals belong together and that animacy cues (e.g. biological motion) provide the foundation for the animate-inanimate distinction as early as 10-months. We have also shown that children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder do not form categories that are as broad as neurotypical children.

  • Wright, K., Kelley, E., & Poulin-Dubois, D. (2016). Biological motion and the animate–inanimate distinction in children with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 25, 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2016.01.005. Full Text
  • Wright, K., Poulin-Dubois, D. and Kelley, E. (2015). The animate–inanimate distinction in preschool children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33(1), 73–91. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12068.  Full text
  • Poulin-Dubois, D., Crivello, C., & Wright, K. (2015). Biological Motion Primes the Animate/Inanimate Distinction in Infancy. PLoS ONE, 10(2), e0116910. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116910.  Full Text
  • Wright, K, Kelley, E. & Poulin-Dubois, D. (2014). Schematic and realistic biological motion identification in children with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8, 1394–1404. doi:1016/j.rasd.2014.07.005.  Full text
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