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?
• Very specialized ability
• There are subtle differences between peoples’ faces
• William James claimed that it is “one great booming, buzzing confusion”
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
o Other abilities are completely learned and are therefore are dependent upon
o Basically, babies learn to “construct” their world
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