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Perceptual Development in Infancy Notes

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PSY 0310
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2/20 Perceptual Development in Infancy • Knowledge of the world revolves around the ways we interpret sensory information • We often aren’t even aware of the things we perceive • Yet, it still has a major impact on the way we process information and who we are o How do we tell music from noise? o Why do we react to colors differently? o What do we find attractive? Face Perception • Very specialized ability • There are subtle differences between peoples’ faces Infant’s World • William James claimed that it is “one great booming, buzzing confusion” Theoretical Positions • Gibson o Perceptual abilities are innate o Babies can automatically pick up complex clues (example of going down stairs) o This happened as a result of evolution • Constructivism o Other abilities are completely learned and are therefore are dependent upon culture o Basically, babies learn to “construct” their world • Neo-Constructivism o Other abilities are learned, but the mechanisms for learning them are innate o The mechanisms are universal but children pick up cultural influences 2/20 o This includes things like language and face perception Distal and Proximal Stimuli • We live in a 3D world, our retina sees 2D, but somehow we still perceive 3D • Gibson tested babies’ depth perception: the “visual cliff” o Other animals appear to have a fear of the cliff o Babies will go off the “edge” without a problem  Do they not perceive it or are they not afraid of it?  Usually babies learn fear from their parents’ reactions • Binocular Disparity o Our two eyes see different angles o The brain can see the difference and interpolates the two pictures  If the object is very close, the two images seen will be very different o This is how we can see three dimensions • Richard Aslin o Experiment
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