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PSYC 2450

development mid #2 3/6/2012 12:39:00 PM CHAPTER 6: Early cognitive foundations: sensation, perception & learning Sensation and Perception SensationProcess by which sensory receptor neurons detect info. and transmit it to the brain PerceptionProcess of interpreting the sensory input Early Controversies Nature vs. Nurture o Empiricists Infants must learn to interpret sensations (nurture) o Nativists Many basic perceptual abilities are innate (nature) Enrichment vs. Differentiation o Enrichment Theory (Piaget) we must add to sensory stimulation by using, stored knowledge in order to perceive a meaningful world. Cognition enriches sensory stimulation. Differentiation Theory (Gibson) o our senses provide all we need to interpret experiences, perception involves detecting distinctive features/cues in the sensory stimulation. Children learn to detect distinctive features Ways which 2+ objects can differ (size, coloiur, shape) Research Methods Methods that use behavioural and physiological responses to study sensation and perception in infants: (1) Preference method o presenting 2+ stimuli and observing which stimulus the infant prefers. One looked longer at = preference o Shortcoming If an infant shows no preferences, it is not clear if they failed to discriminate them or found them equally interesting. (2) Habituation Method o decrease in response to stimulus that is familiar from repetition. Stimulus presented repeatedly until infants response habituates Discrimination ability is tested by presenting a second stimulus and observing response Dishabituation increase in responsiveness that occurs when stimulation changes (can detect difference). o researchers must pay careful attention to the familiarization time line of each infant being tested. (3) Evoked Potentials o a change in patterning of the brain waves that indicates that an individual detects (senses) a stimulus Observe changes in activity for different stimuli Changes = have ability to discriminate (4) High-Amplitude Sucking o the ability of infants to make interesting events last by varying the rate at which they suck on a pacifier. Baseline sucking rate is established Increased rate of sucking causes sensory stimulus to be introduced Suck at a high rate interested Sensory Capabilities and the Brain Touch, Temperature, and Pain Newborns o Due to receptors in the skin, they are: Sensitive to touch Sensitive to warmth, cold, temperature change Sensitive to pain In very rare cases, a baby will be born unable to feel pain there are techniques to try to reduce pain for newborns Hearing Newborns o Hearing is not great at first improves over first 4-6 months Use evoked potentials o Detect differences in loudness, duration, direction, and pitch o Attentive to voices especially mothers Use high amplitude sucking suck faster for mothers voice. Even fetuses show a higher heart rate to mothers voice o Distinguish speech sounds (phonemes) smallest meaningful sound units that make up a spoken language. Recognixe repetitive words o Otitis media is common bacterial infection of the middle ear that produces mild to moderate hearing loss. Almost all children diagnosed atleast once o Auditory localization U-shape function, disappears, then reappears. Smell Newborns o React to noxious odours turn away, unpleasant look o Can recognize scent of mother (olfactory signature) Ex. breast pad expeirment Taste Newborns o Have taste preferences (sweet tooth!) o React with facial expressions for different tastes o Some people are super tasters Vision Newborns o Least mature sense o Sensitivity to brightness (Pupillary reflex) o Track motion (faces the most) o Colour (trouble discriminating Blue, greens & yellows from white) o Low Visual acuity persons ability to see small objects & fine detail Very young infant trouble accommodating (focus distances) o Sharper visual contrasts amount of light/dark transition in a stimulus. Common vision problems: o Nearsightedness (myopia) o Farsightedness (hyperopia) Less common problem: o Blindness Visual Perception in Infancy Pattern and Form o Early preference for: (0-2 mos) Complex/curvature patterns High contrast patterns (sharp boundaries between light & dark) See best moderately complex, high-contrast, motion! o Later form perception: (2 mos-1 year) Perceiving objects as wholes Face preference and recognition complex discriminations (object & surroundings) heavily rely on motion cues (rod example) 8 months- no longer need kinetic cues Perception of 3D Space
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