The present study examined whether English and Indonesian naming practices are predictive of children’s and adults’ conceptions of animal, specifically, the hierarchical relationships between human, mammal and animal. At age 6, English speakers were almost two times more likely than Indonesian speakers to agree that mammals are animals. At age 9, English speakers were three times more likely than Indonesian speakers to agree that humans are mammals. As adults, Indonesian (but not English) speakers continued to deny that humans are animals. That is, the Indonesian naming practice that leads speakers to deny that humans are animals appears related to a delay in Indonesian-speaking children’s acceptance that mammals are animals and humans are mammals. We conclude that this delay may stem from a conflict between categorical knowledge and well-established naming practices.
HerrmannP.WaxmanS. R.MedinD. L.Anthropocentrism is not the first step in children‘s reasoning about the natural worldProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America201010799799984
MedinD. L.WaxmanS. R.WoodringJ.WashinawatokK.Human-centeredness is not a universal feature of young children’s reasoning: Culture and experience matter when reasoning about biological entitiesCognitive Development201025197207
WaxmanS. R.AhnW.GoldstoneR. L.LoveB. C.MarkmanA. B.WolffP.Why is the concept “Living Thing” so elusive? Concepts, languages, and the development of folkbiologyCategorization inside and outside the laboratory: Essays in honor of Douglas L. Medin2005Washington, DC.American Psychological Association4967