Visual Perception and Cognition in Infancy

By Carl Granrud | Go to book overview

6
Infants' Perception of Biomechanical Motions: Intrinsic Image and Knowledge-Based Constraints

Bennett I. Bertenthal

University of Virginia

One of the most notable contributions of the infant research literature over the past decade has been its revolutionary impact on our thinking about perceptual and cognitive development ( J. M. Mandler, 1990). No longer can we assume that basic concepts about number, people, causality, and so forth must await the development of concrete operational thinking ( Piaget, 1970), or, for that matter, even preoperational thinking. Much of the recent research points to the conclusion that the infant comes into the world with a set of fundamental constraints on, or processing heuristics relating to, how information can be organized or extracted ( Keil, 1981; Rozin, 1976).

The presence of constraints on information extraction is nowhere better demonstrated than in recent studies on infants' sensitivity to motion-carried information. During the past few years, my colleagues and I have been centrally concerned with this issue while studying infants' sensitivity to biomechanical motions. These are the motions that correspond to the movements of a person, and are typically depicted by an array of point-lights moving as if attached to the major joints and head of a person walking.

Biomechanical displays provide a unique opportunity for studying the development of structure from motion. In contrast to most displays shown to infants, these displays depict objects that are functionally important and frequently seen. Moreover, the jointed motions that are depicted in these displays are morphologically equivalent to some of the same motions that are produced by infants. Thus, there is the rather unusual opportunity for "knowledge by acquaintance" in the perception of biomechanical motions by infants.

-175-

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Visual Perception and Cognition in Infancy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1: Spatial and Chromatic Visual Efficiency in Human Neonates 1
  • References 43
  • Acknowledgments 46
  • Acknowledgments 46
  • 2: Motion Nulling Techniques and Infant Color Vision 47
  • Acknowledgments 73
  • References 73
  • 3: What Can Rates of Development Tell Us About Underlying Mechanisms? 75
  • Acknowledgments 89
  • References 89
  • 4: Perception of Visual Direction in Human Infants 91
  • Acknowledgments 119
  • References 119
  • 5: Kinematic Foundations of Infant Visual Perception 121
  • 5: Kinematic Foundations of Infant Visual Perception 168
  • References 173
  • References 173
  • 6: Infants' Perception of Biomechanical Motions: Intrinsic Image and Knowledge-Based Constraints 175
  • Acknowledgments 214
  • References 214
  • 7: Infants' Sensitivity to Motion-Carried Information for Depth and Object Properties 215
  • Acknowledgments 234
  • References 234
  • 8: Future-Oriented Processes in Infancy: The Case of Visual Expectations 235
  • References 263
  • Conclusion 308
  • Acknowledgments 311
  • References 312
  • 10: Commentary: Extending the IdealObserver Approach 317
  • Acknowledgments 331
  • References 331
  • 11: Commentary: Cheers and Lamentations 333
  • References 344
  • Author Index 345
  • Subject Index 353
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