The shape bias—generalising labels to same shaped objects—has been linked to attentional learning or referential intent. We explore these origins in children with typical development (TD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disorders (DD). In two conditions, a novel object was presented and either named or described. Children selected another from a shape, colour or texture match. TD children choose the shape match in both conditions, children with DD and ‘high-verbal mental age’ (VMA) children with ASD (language age > 4.6) did so in the name condition and ‘low-VMA’ children with ASD never showed the heuristic. Thus, the shape bias arises from attentional learning in atypically developing children and is delayed in ASD.
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Shape bias
- Word learning
- Delay versus deviance
- School of Education - Head of School, Professor in the Psychology of Education
- Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education
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