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PSYC 250
Tanya Broesch

Chapter 5: Perceptual Development • Unpleasant sensations allow us to avoid dangerous/poisonous hazards • When fatigue, a person's perceptual judgement • Our perceptual systems are designed to help us produce adaptive behaviours Instinct blindness • Instinct blindness: inability to appreciate the complexity of our mental processes b/c they seem automatic to us • Take our vision for example, since we can easily and automatically see colors once we open our eyes, we are blind to the complexitities of the problem of colour vision Aesthetics and interest • That which is beautiful or interesting is determined by our minds o Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder o Human face is more interesting to us that other objects in a room b/c the face conveys info that may important to our social standing o Our mind constructs things that we see EARLY COMPETENCIES AND INTERESTS • William James referred to the constant torrent of info and sensations that each developing organism is exposed to as "blooming, buzzing confusion" • Infants are particularly interested in eyes o Hood, William and Driver showed that infants as young as 3 months look in the direction of an adult's gaze o At 1 month spends more time looking o at the outline of one's face while a 2month inspected the internal features more Prenatal Perceptual development • Infants experience and learn tastes and sounds prenatally Vision • The least developed sense at birth Hearing • Researchers have shown that infants like to hear voices of their mother over strangers voices • Defifer and Casper devised an experiment based on newborn's sucking behaviour • Babies preferred to hear a story that was read to them in utero even if it was read by a stranger than to hear an unfamiliar story by their own mothers • As people age, their ability to hear high pitched sounds decreases o These changes take place deep in the ear called the cochlea. Deterioration happens when hair cell are lost in the cochlea • Mosquito alarm: a loud noise @ the frequency of 17.4 kilohertz. Used to repel young people but goes undetected by customers of 25yrs+ Touch • Fetus has a fairly well developed sense of touch • Fetus can grasp an umbilical cord in utero and suck its thumb Taste • Fetus has a clear sense of taste • If mother is carrying too much amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac, sweetening it with saccharin will cause the baby to drink more of the fluid Smell • When the baby breathes, the amniotic fluid comes into contact with the odour receptors POSTNATAL PERCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT Vision • Vision develops over the first 6 months of the infants life • Lens of the baby's eye in inflexible and baby cannot change their focus • @ 3 months of age, baby still does not have depth perception • @6months, a baby has a visual acuity of 20/40 • Acuity reaches adult levels around age of 5 or older February-01-13 12:54 AM Clarifications: • Experience expectant is critical/sensitive periods o A critical period exists in which exposure to visual stimuli (faces) is necessary to retain the ability to recognize certain kinds of faces o For sounds--when you exposed to certain types of sounds during the 6- 10 months of an infant's first year, they are able to retain it o Nelson's general perceptual processing theory • Evidence of experience expectant o Experiment known as the other species effect o @ 6months the baby can tell the difference btwn the two monkeys but @10months they could not • Experience dependent refers to typical development and experience you get to develop typically Heritability Statistic • Can determine genetic relatedness through twin studies, family studies • With the observed characteristic, the genetic info and environmental info (you would select certain variables) you can use a statistical calculation to determine Perceptual Development Prenatal Perception • Some of the important learning happens in the womb o The fetus Learns the sounds of the mother's voice o Preferential sucking and speed of sucking(slows down when something interests them) o The baby cries in the mother's native language o Fetus's being taught what is safe and unsafe, they are introduced to characteristics of the cultures flavours and tastes Tastes and Smell • Newborns prefer the smell of own amniotic fluid at birth • Prefers food exposed to in 3rd trimester • Use the carrot juice experiment --indicated by the babies' facial expression, amount of cereal eaten and parental report of if the mom thought their baby liked it o Infants exposed to carrot juice in the 3rd trimester preferred carrot juice and cereal the most • Exposure learning o Mom recited 3 times a day for 4 weeks, from weeks 33 to 37. o After 4 weeks(close to end of pregnancy), baby showed great heart rate deceleration than for novel(new/unusual) poem. Baby was recognizing the poem, they liked ones they were familiar to o Important: is it different from habituation? How? • In habituation, the babies heart rate accelerates • Prenatal maternal speech influences newborn's perception of speech sounds o "Cat in the hat" pacifier experiment (tested at 4 days)
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