100 Things You Should Know About People: #62 — People Love To Categorize

"One of these things" picture from Sesame Street
"One of these things" picture from Sesame Street

If you are between the ages of 5 and 60 and grew up with a television in the US, you probably will know what I mean if I say, “One of these things is not like the other.” This was (is) a favorite snippet from the popular children’s show Sesame Street. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can view an example at the Sesame Street website. The Sesame Street lessons teach young children how to notice differences, and how to to categorize.

Categorizing develops around age 7 — Interestingly, it’s probably unnecessary, and perhaps even ineffective, to try and teach young children how to create categories for two reasons:

  1. People naturally create categories. Just like learning a native language happens naturally, so does learning to categorize the world around us.
  2. Categorizing doesn’t emerge as a skill until about age 7. Younger than 7, and certainly younger than 5, thinking about categories just doesn’t make sense to children. After the age of 7, however, people become fascinated with categorizing information. Continue reading “100 Things You Should Know About People: #62 — People Love To Categorize”