Young Infants' Perception of Unity and Form in Occlusion Displays

University of Exeter, Exeter, England, United Kingdom
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.12). 03/2002; 81(3):358-74. DOI: 10.1006/jecp.2002.2657
Source: PubMed


Young infants have been reported to perceive the unity of a center-occluded object when the visible ends of the object are aligned and undergo common motion but not when the edges of the object are misaligned (Johnson & Aslin, 1996). Using a recognition-based paradigm, the authors investigated the possibility that past research failed to provide sufficiently sensitive assessments of infants' perception of the unity of misaligned edges in partial occlusion displays. Positive evidence was obtained in 4-month-olds for veridical perception of the motion and location of a hidden region but not its orientation, whereas 7-month-olds, in contrast to the younger infants, appeared to respond to the orientation of the hidden region. Overall, the results suggest that habituation designs tapping recognition processes may be particularly efficacious in revealing infants' perceptual organization. In addition, the findings provide corroborative evidence for the importance of both motion and orientation in young infants' object segregation and for the difficulty in achieving percepts of the global form of a partly occluded object.

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    • "Hence, movement properties (i.e., continuous vs. distorted movement) and target characteristics (i.e., human agent vs. abstract object) are presumably crucial factors influencing internal representation during occlusion. The majority of previous studies presented occlusion events during abstract object motion to identify infants' reasoning about commonsense physical principles such as continuity (e.g., Spelke et al., 1994) or unity of form (e.g., S. P. Johnson et al., 2002). For instance, after being habituated to a ball rolling behind a screen, infants looked longer towards a linear final position than to a non-linear one, which indicates knowledge of an object's continued motion pathway during occlusion (Spelke et al., 1994). "
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    ABSTRACT: Infants possess the remarkable capacity to perceive occluded movements as ongoing and coherent. Little is known about the neural mechanisms that enable to internally represent movements of conspecifics and inanimate objects during visual occlusion. In this study, 10-month-old infants watched briefly occluded human and object movements. Prior to occlusion, continuous and distorted versions of the movement were shown. EEG recordings were used to assess neural activity assumed to relate to processes of attention (occipital alpha), memory (frontal theta), and sensorimotor simulation (central alpha) before, during, and after occlusion. Oscillatory activity was analyzed using an individualized data approach taking idiosyncrasies into account. Results for occipital alpha were consistent with infants' preference for attending to social stimuli. Furthermore, frontal theta activity was more pronounced when tracking distorted as opposed to continuous movement, and when maintaining object as opposed to human movement. Central alpha did not discriminate between experimental conditions. In sum, we conclude that observing occluded movements recruits processes of attention and memory, which are modulated by stimulus and movement properties.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015
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    • "What about even younger children? Infants seem to be able to perceive causal events (e.g., L. B. Cohen & Amsel, 1998; Leslie & Keeble, 1987) as well as engage in associative reasoning in both auditory and visual domains (e.g., Fiser & Aslin, 2003; Kirkham, Slemmer, & Johnson, 2002; Saffran, Aslin, & Newport, 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has suggested that preschoolers possess a cognitive system that allows them to construct an abstract, coherent representation of causal relations among events. Such a system lets children reason retrospectively when they observe ambiguous data in a rational manner (e.g., D. M. Sobel, J. B. Tenenbaum, & A. Gopnik, 2004). However, there is little evidence that demonstrates whether younger children possess similar inferential abilities. In Experiment 1, the authors extended previous findings with older children to examine 19- and 24-month-olds' causal inferences. Twenty-four-month-olds' inferences were similar to those of preschoolers, but younger children lacked the ability to make retrospective causal inferences, perhaps because of performance limitations. In Experiment 2, the authors designed an eye-tracking paradigm to test younger participants that eliminated various manual search demands. Eight-month-olds' anticipatory eye movements, in response to retrospective data, revealed inferences similar to those of 24-month-olds in Experiment 1 and preschoolers in previous research. These data are discussed in terms of associative reasoning and causal inference.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · Developmental Psychology
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