Development of implicit and explicit category learning

J Exp Child Psychol. 2011 Jul;109(3):321-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 5.


We present two studies that examined developmental differences in the implicit and explicit acquisition of category knowledge. College-attending adults consistently outperformed school-age children on two separate information-integration paradigms due to children's more frequent use of an explicit rule-based strategy. Accuracy rates were also higher for adults on a unidimensional rule-based task due to children's more frequent use of the irrelevant dimension to guide their behavior. Results across these two studies suggest that the ability to learn categorization structures may be dependent on a child's ability to inhibit output from the explicit system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Association Learning*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Critical Period, Psychological*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Young Adult