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Seeing Thinking Doing.docx

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University of British Columbia
PSYC 302

Seeing, Thinking, and Doing in Infancy Chapter 5 pg. 176-190, pg. 199-213 I. Perception • Sensation: processing of basic information from the external world o By the sensory receptors in the sense organs and brain • Perception: process of organizing and interpreting sensory information o Objects o Events o Spatial layout of our surroundings A. Vision • Research methods for studying infants’vision: o Preferential-looking technique: showing infants two patterns or two objects at a time  See if the infants have a preference for one over the other o Habituation: repeatedly presenting an infant with a given stimulus until the response declines  If the infant’s response increases when a novel stimulus is presented • Researcher infers that the baby can discriminate between the old and new stimuli 1. VisualAcuity • The sharpness of infants’visual discrimination develops rapidly o Approaches adult levels by 8 months o Reaches full adult acuity by 6 years of age • An infant’s visual acuity can be estimated by comparing how long the baby looks at a striped pattern versus a plain gray square of the same size and overall brightness • Young infants prefer to look at patterns of high visual contrast because they have poor contrast sensitivity (the ability to detect differences in light and dark areas). o This is because the cones (light-sensitive neurons) of the eye, which are concentrated in the fovea, differ from adults’in size, shape, and spacing • In addition, very young infants have limited color vision, although by 2-3 months of age their color vision is similar to that of adults’ 2. Visual Scanning • Scanning o One-month-olds scan the perimeters of shapes, o Two-month-olds scan both the perimeters and the interior of shapes • Tracking o Infants begin scanning the environment right away  They cannot track even slowly moving objects smoothly until 2 to 3 months of age Faces • From birth, infants are drawn to faces o General bias toward configurations with more elements in the upper half than in the lower half • From paying attention to real faces, the infant comes to recognize and prefer his or her own mother’s face o Only takes about 12 cumulative hours of exposure From birth onward • Infants prefer attractive faces o From birth they look longer at faces that are judged by adults to be highly attractive than at faces judged to be less attractive o Interact more positively with people with attractive faces With Experience • Infants develop a preference for the type of face they see most often • Develop an understanding of the significance of different facial expressions 3. Pattern Perception • Two-month-old infants can analyze and integrate separate elements of a visual display into a coherent pattern. o When you look at this figure, you no doubt see a square – what is called a subjective contour, because it does not actually exist o Seven month olds also see the overall pattern here and detect the illusory square • Infants are also able to perceive coherence among moving elements. 4. Object Perception • Perceptual constancy is the perception of objects as being of constant size, shape, color, etc., in spite of physical differences in the retinal image of the object. o If a infant looks at the larger, but farther –away cube, researches will conclude the child has size constancy • Supporting the nativist position, visual experience does not seem to be necessary for perceptual constancy Object Segregation • Infants who see the display in figure (a) perceive it as two separate objects, a rod moving behind a block • After habituating to the display, they look longer at two-rod segments than at a single rod (b), indicating that they find the single rod familiar but the two segments novel. • If they first see a display with no movement, they look equally long at the two test displays. • The identification of separate objects in a visual array o Two-month-old infants use common movement to perceive object segregation o Older infants, like adults, use additional sources of information for object segregation  Includes their general knowledge about the world 5. Depth Perception • Infants as young as 1 month responds to optical expansion o Adepth cue in which an object occludes increasingly more of the background, indicating that the object is approaching • Stereopsis, the process by which the visual cortex combines the differing neural signals caused by binocular disparity o The slightly different signals sent to the brain by the two eyes o Emerges suddenly at around 4 months of age • At about 6–7 months of age, infants become sensitive to a variety of monocular or pictorial cues, the perceptual cues of depth that can be achieved by one eye alone, o These include relative size and interposition • This 7-month-old infant is using the monocular depth cue of relative size. o Wearing an eye patch to take away binocular depth information  Baby reaches to the longer side of a trapezoidal window. • This behavior indicates that the baby sees it as the nearer, and hence more readily reachable, side of a regular window. Pictorial Representations • Newborns can recognize two-dimensional versions of three-dimensional objects o Children must come to understand their symbolic nature • Before they reach about 19 months of age and have substantial experience with pictures, infants and toddlers attempt to treat pictures as though they are real objects B. Auditory Perception • The human auditory system is relatively well developed at birth, hearing does not approach adult levels until age 5 or 6 o Newborns turn toward sounds, a phenomenon referred to as auditory localization. o Infants are remarkably proficient in perceiving subtle differences in human speech. 1. Music Perception • Recent research evidence suggests a biological foundation for music perception. o Infants share the strong preferences adults have for some musical sounds over others. o Infants also respond to rhythm in music and are sensitive to melody, showing habituation to the same tune regardless of pitch C. Taste and Smell • Sensitivity to taste and smell develops before birth. • Newborns have an innate preference for sweet flavors. • Newborns prefer the smell of breast milk o By two weeks of age appear to be able to differentiate the scent of their own mothers from that of other women. D. Touch • Infants learn about the environment through active touch. o Oral exploration dominates for the first few months. o Around 4 months of age, infants gain greater control over their hand and arm movements, and annual exploration gradually takes precedence over oral exploration E. Intermodal Perception • The combining of information from two or more senses is present from very early in life. • Very young infants link sight and sound, oral and visual experience, and visual and tactile experience. o When two videos are presented simultaneously, 4 month-old infants prefer to watch the images that correspond to the sounds they are hearing o Using a similar technique, researchers have found that by 5 months of age, infants associate facial expressions with emotions in voices Research Technique for Intermodal Perception • Aset-up like this one enables researchers to study auditory–visual intermodal perception. • The two computer screens display different films, one of which is coordinated with a soundtrack. • The video camera records the infant’s looking toward the two screens. II. Learning A. Habituation • A decrease in responsiveness to repeated stimulation reveals that learning has occurred. o The infant has a memory representation of the repeated, now-familiar stimulus • The speed with which an infant habituates is believed to reflect the general efficiency of the infant’s processing of information. o Asubstantial degree of continuity has been found between these measures in infancy and general cognitive ability later in life B. Perceptual Learning • Infants actively search for order and regularity in the world around them. o Differentiation is the extraction from the constantly changing stimulation in the environment of those elements that are invariant or stable • Aparticularly important part of perceptual learning is the infant’s discovery of affordances, the possibilities for action offered by objects and situations C. Statistical Learning • Involves picking up information from the environment o Forming associations among stimuli that occur in a statistically predictable pattern • From quite early on, infants are sensitive to the regularity with which one stimulus follows another D. Classical Conditioning • Aform of learning that consists of associating an initially neutral stimulus with a stimulus that always evokes a reflexive response • Plays a role in infants’everyday learning about the relations between environmental events that have relevance for them o It is thought that many emotional responses are initially learned through classical conditioning, as demonstr
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