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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Examining Infant Relation Categorization Through Deep Neural Networks


Categorizing spatial relations is central to the development of visual understanding and spatial cognition, with roots in the first few months of life. Quinn (2003) reviews two findings in infant relation categorization: categorizing one object as above/below another precedes categorizing an object as between other objects, and categorizing relations over specific objects predates abstract relations over varying objects. We model these phenomena with deep neural networks, including contemporary architectures specialized for relational learning and vision models pretrained on baby headcam footage (Sullivan et al., 2020). Across two computational experiments, we can account for most of the developmental findings, suggesting these neural network models are useful for studying the computational mechanisms of infant categorization.

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