Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
The effects of individual versus category training, using behavioral indices of stimulus discrimination and neural ERPs indices of holistic processing, were examined in infants. Following pretraining assessments at 6 months, infants were sent home with training books of objects for 3 months. One group of infants was trained with six different strollers labeled individually, and another group was trained with the same six strollers labeled at the category level (i.e., “stroller”). Infants returned for posttraining assessments at 9 months. Discrimination of objects was facilitated for infants trained with the individually labeled strollers but was unchanged after training at the category level. Relative to pretraining and to category-level training, individual-level training resulted in increased holistic processing of strollers recorded over occipital brain regions. These results suggest that labeling nonface objects individually, in infancy, facilitates discrimination and leads to the emergence of holistic neural representations not present with category-level labeling.