Sandra R Waxman

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Recent research has documented specific linkages between language and conceptual organization in the developing child. However, most of the evidence for these linkages derives from children who have made significant linguistic and conceptual advances. We therefore focus on the emergence of one particular linkage--the noun-category linkage--in infants at the(More)
Previous research reveals that novel words highlight object categories for preschoolers and infants as young as 12 months. Three experiments extend these findings to 9-month-olds. Infants were familiarized to slides of animals (e.g., rabbits). Infants in the Word condition heard infant-directed word phrases ("a rabbit") and infants in the Tone condition(More)
In 3 experiments, we examine the relation between language acquisition and other symbolic abilities in the early stages of language acquisition. We introduce 18- and 26-month-olds to object categories (e.g., fruit, vehicles) using a novel word or a novel symbolic gesture to name the objects. We compare the influence of these two symbolic forms on infants'(More)
Neonates prefer human speech to other nonlinguistic auditory stimuli. However, it remains an open question whether there are any conceptual consequences of words on object categorization in infants younger than 6 months. The current study examined the influence of words and tones on object categorization in forty-six 3- to 4-month-old infants. Infants were(More)
In 2 experiments, the authors examined the evolution of folkbiological reasoning in children (4 to 10 years of age) and adults from 4 distinct communities (rural Native American, rural majority culture, and suburban and urban North American communities). Using an adoption paradigm, they examined participants' intuitions regarding the inheritance of(More)
Two parallel studies were performed with members of very different cultures— industrialized American and traditional Itzaj-Mayan—to investigate potential universal and cultural features of folkbiological taxonomies and inductions. Specifically, we examined how individuals organize natural categories into taxonomies, and whether they readily use these(More)
Recent studies reveal that naming has powerful conceptual consequences within the first year of life. Naming distinct objects with the same word highlights commonalities among the objects and promotes object categorization. In the present experiment, we pursued the origin of this link by examining the influence of words and tones on object categorization in(More)
We examined electrophysiological correlates of conscious change detection versus change blindness for equivalent displays. Observers had to detect any changes, across a visual interruption, between a pair of successive displays. Each display comprised grey circles on a background of alternate black and white stripes. Foreground changes arose when light-grey(More)
For children as well as adults, object categories (e.g., dog, animal, car, vehicle) serve as a rich base for inductive inferences. Here, we examine children’s inferences regarding categories of people. We showed 4-year-old children a picture of an individual (e.g., a white woman), taught them a novel property of the individual (e.g., is good at a new game(More)