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Chapter 5

PSY210H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Visual Acuity, Subjective Constancy, Color Vision

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Anna Grivas Matejka

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Chapter 5 Seeing, Thinking, and Doing in Infancy
1. Vision
Sensation: the processing of basic information from the external world by the sensory receptors in the
sense organs (eyes, ears, skin, etc.) and brain
Perception: the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information
preferential-looking technique: a method for studying visual attention in infants that involves showing
infants two patterns or two objects at a time to see if the infants have a preference for one over the other
visual acuity: the sharpness of visual discrimination-- visual acuity develops so rapidly that by 8 months
of age, infants’ acuity approaches that of adults.
contrast sensitivity: the ability to detect differences in light and dark areas in a visual pattern. (1)
Young infants have poor contrast sensitivity: they can detect a pattern only when it is composed of
highly contrasting elements, because of the immaturity of the cone cells in infants retinas that are highly
concentrated in the fovea (the central region of the retina) and are involved in seeing fine detail and color
cones: the light-sensitive neurons that are highly concentrated in the fovea (the central region of the
retina) (2). for the 1st month or so, they do not appear to perceive differences between white and color.
However, by 2 months of age, infants’ color vision is similar to that of adults.
Visual scanning: With a simple figure like a triangle, infants younger than 2 months old look almost
exclusively at one corner. With more complex shapes, like faces, they tend to scan only the outer edges
infants acquiring multiple languages take advantage of the information provided in the mouth earlier than
infants acquiring just a single language
perceptual constancy: the perception of objects as being of constant size, shape, color, etc., in spite of
physical differences in the retinal image of the object

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object segregation: the identification of separate objects in a visual array. the perception of the
boundaries between objects
Motion as cue: This display could be perceived either as two pieces of a rod moving on each end of a
block of wood or as a single rod moving back and forth behind the block. Importantly, adults perceive
displays of this type the latter way. After habituating to the display, the infants were shown the two test
displays in the below graph: a whole rod and a rod broken into two pieces. The investigators reasoned
that if the infants, like adults, assumed that there was a single intact rod moving behind the block during
habituation, they would look longer at the broken rod because that display would be relatively novel.
And that is exactly what the babies did. The adults more tend to perceive the display of a single rod
moving back and forth behind the block. After showing the two different rods, the infants more like the
broken rod because of novelty.
Infants’ face perception:
1). newborn humans are equally interested in human faces and monkey facesas long as they are presented
right-side up
2). Infants very quickly come to recognize and prefer their own mother’s face.
3). perceptual narrowing: infants become face specialists, better at discriminating amongst the kinds of faces
that are frequently experienced in their environments. Evidence: 1). intriguing study of infants’ and adults’
ability to discriminate between individual human faces and individual monkey faces. 6 mons discriminate
the monkey faces, but the 9 mons do not. 2). Other-race effect: The infants more like the own-race faces. The 9
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