Perceptual Development

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  • Perceptual Development
    • Neonate Studies
      • Rationale: earlier a child can do something, the more likely it is to be innate.
      • Gibson & Walk: visual cliff built from glass sheet & material under glass gave visual cues that one end was 'shallow' and one end 'deep'. 36 infants placed in center, all infants moved off centre board onto shallow end at least once. DEPTH PERCEPTION  is innate.
      • Fantz: showed babies scrambled faces & normal faces. All infants more interested in normal faces, shows babies have FACIAL RECOGNITION  abilities so is innate.
      • Bower: conditioned infants to turn heads to a 30cm cube placed 1m away. 3 different size cubes shown to baby 1) 90cm 3m away 2) 90cm 3m away (same retinal image as original) 3) 90cm but 1m away. Results showed babies looked at cube 1 more. SIZE CONSTANCY is innate.
      • Evaluation points.
        • Ethical & Practical difficulties: obtaining permission from parents, must gain consent & maintain childs anonymity. If child resists or becomes distressed must be comforted. Research requires skills & sensitivity of investigators.
        • Some abilities are not present at birth but emerge during first few weeks of life through learning,. Difficult to disentangle  what is innate or experienced.
          • Some abilities are innate but programmed to develop later eg walking, babies are programmed to walk rather than fly but walking requires experience & practise, so is it considered innate or not?
    • Cross Cultural Studies
      • Rationale: if cultures percieve the same it is innate, if they percieve different it is learnt.
      • Deregowski: showed 2D pics to varous African cultures. P.s found it hard to understand implied depth eg they thought a man was pointing a spear at the elephant rather than the antelope. DEPTH PERCEPTION is learnt
      • Turnbull: studied Pygmies that lived in dense forest, showed impaired SIZE CONSTANCY once brought out of the forest as they took a buffalo heard to be ants. It is learnt.
        • Size constancy could have been innate to start with, but as it was not needed in dense forest it may have been selected out.
      • Hudson: used pics that contained depth cues & asked people from different cultures questions to test i they could percieve it. Found African tribes found it difficult to percieve DEPTH compared to Western cultures who did not. It is learnt.
        • Not focused on everyday perception, 2D drawings.
    • Animal Studies
      • Rationale: can do things we cant on humans due to ethical treatment. Can manipulate environment, higher reproduction rate so more p.s
      • Blakemore & Cooper: placed kittens in drum with either only vertical or only horizontal stripes, when released into real world at 5 months appeared to be blind to lines whos orientation was perpendicular to the lines they had experienced. PERCEPTION is learnt.
      • Held & Hein: placed 1 kitten in basket, 2nd able to walk around a pole which turned the basket. 2nd kitten developed normal vision but 1st did not. Suggests both SENSORY & MOTOR experiences are necessary to develop perception.
      • Reisen: housed 2 newborn monkeys in darkened room for 1st 16 months of life. Only allowing brief expose of light for feeding & other care. Chimps visual perception greatly undeveloped when released. PERCEPTION is learnt.
    • Readjustment Studies
      • Rationale: babies cant talk but adults can, If people can readjust implies it is learnt, if they cant it is innate.
      • Hess: chickens wear goggles that shifted vision to one side, had to peck for grain. Regardless of no. of trials chickens never got grain. 2 chickens died of starvation. PERCEPTION is innate, could not be learnt.
        • Birds are thought to have smaller brains so data not transferable.
      • Case of SB: born with cataracks & blind up to age of 52, once removed he foun it hard to percieve unfamiliar objects through sight alone & lacked DEPTH PERCEPTION. Implies not innate, it is learnt.
        • Not generaliseable as specific case. However useful as shows us findings that we would be unable to gather in large samples.
      • Stratton: wore inverted lenses that turned world upside down. AFter 5th day he could write & walk with reltive ease. AFter 8 days goggles removed & world seemed immediatley recognisable. PERCEPTTION is learnt a he could readjust.
        • Perhaps both perception & the ability to adjust is innate. Difficult to prove which conclusion is correct.
  • Misunderstanding can arise due to imposed etic.
  • Issues with animals in reseach: more ethical to experiment on animals less similar to humans but then less transferable, less ethical to experiment on animals more similar to humans but more transferable.


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