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重庆快乐十分最新开奖:Symbolic labeling in 5-month-old human infants
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Humans naturally entertain complex representations of the world based on various symbolic systems, from natural language to mathematical or musical notation. They recode the input into abstract symbolic representations that can be internally manipulated and projected back onto the external world. We show that preverbal infants can redescribe complex percepts into abstract mental variables, which they can readily map onto arbitrary labels. Importantly, we show that, beyond associative learning, infants can readily infer a bidirectional relation between the abstracted representations and the associated labels, a capacity that animals do not spontaneously exhibit. Our findings buttress the hypothesis of symbolic representations in preverbal infants, which may serve as a foundation for our distinctively human learning abilities.
Humans’ ability to create and manipulate symbolic structures far exceeds that of other animals. We hypothesized that this ability rests on an early capacity to use arbitrary signs to represent any mental representation, even as abstract as an algebraic rule. In three experiments, we collected high-density EEG recordings while 150 5-month-old infants were presented with speech triplets characterized by their abstract syllabic structure—the location of syllable repetition—which predicted a following arbitrary label (e.g., ABA words were followed by a fish picture, AAB words by a lion). After a brief learning phase, EEG responses to novel words revealed that infants built expectations about the upcoming label based on the triplet structure and were surprised when it happened to be incongruent. Preverbal infants were thus able to recode the incoming triplets into abstract mental variables to which arbitrary labels were flexibly assigned. Importantly, infants also generalized to novel trials in which the pairing order was reversed (with the label preceding the auditory structure). Beyond conditioned associations, infants instantly inferred a bidirectional mapping between the abstract structures and the following label, a foundational operation for any symbolic system.
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Author contributions: C.K. and G.D.-L. designed research; C.K. performed research; C.K. analyzed data; and C.K. and G.D.-L. wrote the paper.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1809144116/-/DCSupplemental.
Published under the PNAS license.