Young Children’s Intensional Knowledge of Superordinate Categories

Marcia S. Scott, Daryl B. Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The present paper explores preschool children’s intensional knowledge about 14 superordinate categories. Intensional knowledge refers to the set of properties that define category membership and can be distinguished from extensional knowledge, which refers to the set of exemplars that are considered valid instances of a category. Evidence exists that these two forms of knowledge are not highly coordinated in the young child. A considerable amount of research has been directed at the study of extensional knowledge of superordinate categories in young children. On the other hand, very little is known about intensional knowledge. In the present paper, we argue that procedures that allow assessment of extensional knowledge are too demanding for the access of intensional knowledge by preschool children. We present a methodology in which task demands are reduced, allowing the preschool child to access stored intensional knowledge. The relationship between extension and intension is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-232
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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