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Title:What Kind of Food Is an Apple? Children's Script, Taxonomic, and Evaluative Categories of Food
Author(s):Nguyen, Simone Phuong
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rosengren, Karl S.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:A central issue in conceptual development is how children mentally organize the world into categories. The shift theory of children's categorization has argued that as children age, they switch from predominantly thematic or script categories to taxonomic ones. However, placing these two kinds of classification in opposition has perhaps simplified our understanding of children's conceptual abilities. Children may be able to simultaneously use both categorical and other kinds of relations such as evaluative categories. The goal of this dissertation was to explore children's use of multiple forms of conceptual organization. Experiment 1 examined script (e.g., breakfast foods, dinner foods), taxonomic (e.g., fruits, meats), and evaluative (e.g., healthy foods, junky foods) categories. Children were shown a target item and asked to select between two choices: an unrelated food and one that shared a taxonomic, script, or evaluative category with the target. The results showed that 4- and 7-year-olds categorized foods into all three categories. Experiment 2 was a modified version of Experiment I and revealed signs of taxonomic and script categories in 3-year-olds. Experiment 3 examined cross-classification and found that 4- and 7-year-olds can classify a single food into both taxonomic and script categories. Experiments 4 and 5 examined category-based induction. The results showed that 7-year-olds and to a lesser degree 4-year-olds can selectively use categories to make inductive inferences about foods. Evaluative categories were revisited in Experiments 6--8. The findings were that 4- and 7-year-olds form evaluative categories and can selectively use them for inferences. Taken together, the results from Experiments 1--8 are inconsistent with the shift theory of children's categorization. Rather, the results demonstrate that children do not rely solely on one form of categorization, but are flexible in the types of categories they form and use.
Issue Date:2003
Description:136 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3101934
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003

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