Are developmental theories of learning paying attention to attention?
Currently available empirical evidence is often insufficient to distinguish among developmental theories of word learning, categorization, and induction. This paper argues that theories of conceptual development should be evaluated not only on the basis of their ability to account for empirical findings, but also on the basis of their consistency with a broader body of knowledge, particularly with the known properties of developing selective attention. The paper presents a brief overview of the behavioral and neurophysiological findings on the development of selective attention. These findings are argued to be inconsistent with the approaches assuming that early in development learning is driven by conceptual knowledge and naive theories, but provide support to the approaches arguing that early learning may be impervious to conceptual influences.