Developmental Psychology: Categorization inability

Developmental Psychology: Categorization inability

Very nice demonstration of a 4-year olds inability to perform categorization.


October 5, 2007 / 49 Comments / by / in
  • First of all, the kid does not understand the word CATEGORY… using that word is insane.

  • @originalityisdead18 seems the test is fluad not the kid haha

  • Does anyone know if children can sort out gender groups? At a very young age children start to follow gender roles. So its not like children at the age of 4 have an inability to sort in case of gender.

  • in a summary. The boy has a different method of categorizing things. His method is out of the box, and somewhat, off topic. But in the end, he is still correct.

  • but it's really just semantics, and that the kid can't guess what your driving at.

    he knows three of them are for eating, and one of them is for flying, but he has a very straight forward understanding of the word "different". they're all different, and he's right.

    of course, you could ask him which one was of a different CATAGORY, but then i'm pretty sure he simply doesn't have the vocabulary to understand such a word.

  • lol "Can you put them in a category?"
    What did she expect him to say?
    "Madam, by the term 'category' do you mean a group of objects that are similar in a certain way?"

  • I love how he says ''Ill tell you something.. if you take 2 away you have 2 left''.. haha so cute.

  • when you are with a child you don't want them to think their wrong! bc then they willfeel unsure about themselves and at this age you don't want them to feel that way!! this is a concept in Developmental Psychology the kid isn't stupid. it can't do that he don't have to mental ability to do this skill yet.

  • Rebecca Saxe's TEDTalk was enlightening also. The marshmallow test is worth looking up.

  • piaget is my favriet theorist and i have done some of these tests with my children in the nursery


  • @Zantaer He's too young to understand that three of those cards belong to the same category. He looks at them individually, therefore they're all different.
    He's just a little kid … you need to chill.

  • @mafemure And you need to learn about the internet so you don't get trolled.

  • @Zantaer lol like I care … what are you going to troll about anyway??

  • i was kinda annoyed at first because the question was wrong, childeren take words literally and when you say "different", of course he ll say they are all different in the very literal meaning of the word.

    but after he counted them all; "fly", "eat", "eat", "eat" and still not get it… it is very interesting…

  • @mafemure he just trolled about the kid s intelligence.. he was even kind enough to point out he was just trolling. lol. you do need to learn about your internets so you wont get trolled..

  • @mafemure I don't know, but that kid is a fucking idiot.

  • this kid is so cute. he just seems so annoyed that the answers are so obvious.

  • well he's really smart for a 4 year old, at least he did not call the zebra a cow, just remember that at his age mistakes are welcome as long as he get's it at some point : )

  • Hmm. Again, to me this seems to be a level of cognitive abstraction. Of course they're all friggin' different. I think that he doesn't understand what the experimenter means by categorisation. I agree that there are differing stages in development, as I can remember, at least vaguely, being able to see things more 'clearly' as I aged. But I still kinda hold out hope that this guy would be able to do it, if it were explained clearly to him. 😛

  • Reminds me of Seasame Street's "One of these things, doesn't belong here, one of these things isn't the same." Interesting that they were attempting to aid cognitive development by pointing out forms of categorization.

  • He speaks like Bruce Lee!

  • This kid needs to see a doctor and FAST!!
    We tried this experiment with 12 kids in my psychology class most did not fully pass the test… but there were 2 children who answered with "all" repeatedly, even though we stated there was ONE that was different. Those 2 children were later (a year and a half-ish) diagnosed with brain tumors and subsequently one of them has now sadly passed away. DONT IGNORE THIS!!

  • this boy is tooo cute with his facial and hand gestures..i cant stop watching this video, haha! :))

  • He's toooo smart for us!

  • should have sung the song to him 😉

  • awwwwwww he's so cute!!!

  • Son, your mind is full of fuck xDDD

  • i thought it was pretty funny. the kid's just had a "no shit, thats obvious." attitude

  • Well…had the idea of categorization been explained to the kid first he most likely would have had different answers.

    Though, I do suppose at 4 there is no choice (and no need) to see things for more than what they appear to be.
    Each image is different, this is true, it is the simplest and most obvious answer in the context of a 4-year-olds thought process.

  • I don't think he's "unable to perform categorization", we just didn't use the right words. The woman asked which one is 'different'. According to the definition of 'different', he is correct and the woman is incorrect in the answer she desires. He's giving the correct answer, she's trying to get him to give an incorrect answer. The images are all different. The fact that three of them are animals and a fourth is not doesn't make the three animals the 'same'.

  • She didn't ask the kid to categorize (at first), she asked him which one is different. The kid correctly answered that they are all different. This doesn't show the kid's inability to categorize, it shows the trainer's inability to effectively use the English language.

  • That kid pwned that trainer. The kid is much smarter than the trainer.

  • They probably developed brain tumors because you lied to them when you told them only one was different. Those 2 children were much smarter than you and you made their brains explode. Don't lie to kids!

  • He didn't make a mistake. The images are indeed all different. The instructor was lying when she said only one was different.

  • I'm still annoyed; I was a little surprised he didn't give the instructor the correct answer after 'fly', 'eat', 'eat', 'eat', but then I realized maybe he knew what she wanted, but he still answered the question correctly: "They are all different."

  • It's the instructor that doesn't have the mental ability. The kid answered the questions correctly, except when she started talking about categories; I don't think anyone ever explained to him what a category his. However, he obviously understands the definitions of 'different' and 'same' better than the instructor does.

  • Correct, lygophile. Well said.

  • Actually, this is a bad experiment. It's not testing the kid's ability to categorize, it's testing his vocabulary and the instructor's ability to ask the right questions.

  • Your brain is not large enough.

  • I think you might be stuck at the same level as this kid, the child sees the photos as all different but he is asked to categorize them, meaning all the animals would be in the same group, so yes 1 is different

  • thats funny cause america is made up of all cultures and races so you indirectly called your own country stupid 🙂

  • hah, at least he's good at bullshitting and improvising 🙂

  • Its sad that people in the comments dont understand this.

  • Kay

    ''zeebwa''.. AWWWWWW<3

  • This is so helpful for my child development class. Thank you for posting it, and please don't ever take it down! 🙂

  • I agree. They're all different

  • I think that was a terrible test of categorization skills. The question was poorly posed.

  • lol dumb kid

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