Words that evoke schemas: The need for optimal vagueness

Son, J. Y., Smith, L. B., & Goldstone, R. L. (2007). Words that evoke schemas: The need for optimal vagueness. Proceedings of the Workshop on Analogies: Integrating Multiple Cognitive Abilities (AnICA07). Nashville, Tennesse.

Although young children typically have trouble reasoning relationally, they are aided by the presence of relational words (e.g., Gentner & Rattermann, 1991) and can reason well about commonly experienced event structures (e.g., Fivush, 1984). Two experiments examine how schema-evoking words help preschool-aged children generalize relational patterns. Experiment 1 shows the superiority of schema-evoking words and Experiment 2 further reveals that these words must be applied to vaguely related events in order to draw attention to structure.

Download PDF version of this paper