Adult’s and children’s intuitions about artifact function

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Researchers in cognitive science have increasingly begun to focus on questions surrounding the capacity to represent artifact kinds (see Lawrence & Margolis, in press). Of specific interest to researchers in cognitive development have been the dual questions of what information is at the core of early artifact representations, and to what extent this information changes over development. Some researchers argue that adults and even young children represent information about an object’s ‘designed function’ (e.g. the use intended by the designer) as central to artifact representations (e.g. Diesendruck, Markson & Bloom, 2003; Kemler Nelson, Herron & Morris, 2002). Others have stressed the importance of shared conventional use (Siegal & Callanan, 2005, April); and non-accidental use (Matan & Carey, 2001). An issue that is often obscured within this debate has been the possible differences between the information that is important for categorising artifacts versus that important to determining the function of artifacts. The current paper provides evidence for a dissociation between these questions (see also German & Johnson, 2002; Jaswal, 2005), while extending the range of kinds of information to include information about shared conventional use (as well as idiosyncratic use by one owner).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2008
EventHang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies Public Seminar Series - Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, UK
Duration: 23 May 2008 → …


OtherHang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies Public Seminar Series
Period23/05/08 → …
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