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A dual-memory model of categorization in infancy

World Scientific
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  • Psychology


Book synopsis: Although cognitive neuroscientists have explored the neural basis of category learning in adults, there has been little if any investigation of how the unfolding categorization abilities of infants relate to the development of neural structures during the first two years of life. Here, we argue that category learning in early infancy can be explained through the interactions of two memory systems: a cortically-based long-term system, and a hippocampal short-term system. We suggest that the shift in categorization behavior observed in infant category learning from bottom-up empirical learning to learning that is strongly influenced by top-down prior knowledge reflects the gradual functional integration of these two systems. To test this hypothesis we describe a dual-memory connectionist model that implements interactions between the long term (neocortical) and short-term (hippocampal) networks.

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