Single Idea 15701

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 5. Reference to Natural Kinds]

Full Idea

Children judged personal characteristics as more stable when they were referred to by a noun ('She is a carrot eater') than by a verbal predicate ('She eats carrots whenever she can')

Gist of Idea

Nouns seem to invoke stable kinds more than predicates do


Susan A. Gelman (The Essential Child [2003], 08 'Naming')

Book Reference

Gelman,Susan A.: 'The Essential Child' [OUP 2005], p.189

A Reaction

This fits with my feeling that 'labels' are the basis of how the mind works. The noun invokes a genuine category of thing, where a predicate attaches to some preselected category ('she'). Gelman says names encourage inductions.