David H. Rakison

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In addition to having communicative functions, verbal labels may play a role in shaping concepts. Two experiments assessed whether the presence of labels affected category formation. Subjects learned to categorize "aliens" as those to be approached or those to be avoided. After accuracy feedback on each response was provided, a nonsense label was either(More)
Two experiments involving object-manipulation tasks were performed to examine whether 1- to 2-year-olds form superordinate-like categories by attending to object parts. In Study 1, 14-, 18-, and 22-month-olds were tested with contrasts of animals, furniture, insects, and vehicles. Fourteen- and 18-month-olds behaved systematically toward categories with(More)
The authors examine recent theoretical perspectives of the development of the animate-inanimate distinction in infancy. From these theoretical views emerge 7 characteristic properties, each related to physical or psychological causality, that distinguish animates from inanimates. The literature is reviewed for evidence of infants' ability to perceive and(More)
Three experiments with object-manipulation tasks examined the effect of object structure on 14-, 18-, and 22-month-olds' categorization. In Experiment 1, categorization of animals and vehicles was tested when object structure was normal and when it was violated by moving parts (legs or wheels) into a novel configuration. In Experiment 2, categorization of(More)
Previous studies with adult humans and non-human animals revealed more rapid fear learning for spiders and snakes than for mushrooms and flowers. The current experiments tested whether 11-month-olds show a similar effect in learning associative pairings between facial emotions and fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant stimuli. Consistent with the greater(More)
Because we are a cooperative species, understanding the goals and intentions of others is critical for human survival. In this fMRI study, participants viewed reaching behaviors in which one of four animated characters moved a hand towards one of two objects and either (a) picked up the object, (b) missed the object, or (c) changed his path halfway to lift(More)
Four experiments examined the role of correlations between dynamic and static parts on 12- to 16-month-olds' ability to learn the identity of agents and recipients in a simple causal event. Infants were habituated to events in which objects with a dynamic or static part acted as an agent or a recipient and then were tested with an event in which the(More)
The associative learning account of how infants identify human motion rests on the assumption that this knowledge is derived from statistical regularities seen in the world. Yet, no catalog exists of what visual input infants receive of human motion, and of causal and self-propelled motion in particular. In this manuscript, we demonstrate that the frequency(More)
Previous studies with various non-human animals have revealed that they possess an evolved predator recognition mechanism that specifies the appearance of recurring threats. We used the preferential looking and habituation paradigms in three experiments to investigate whether 5-month-old human infants have a perceptual template for spiders that generalizes(More)