During the early stages of infant development the capacity for perceptual (i.e., visual) discrimination is shaped by infants' perceptual experience. Perceptual narrowing is one process hypothesized to account for developmental change. Perceptual narrowing research often demonstrates that infants before 6 months of age are able to discriminate a wide variety of events whereas infants beyond 6 months of age seemingly "lose" some perceptual abilities. Two investigations are proposed to examine the claim that younger, but not older infants can discriminate faces across species. The purpose of Experiment 1 was to determine whether an increase in familiarization and trial times would result in cross-species facial (i.e. faces of macaques) discrimination in 12-month-olds. The hypothesis was supported, adding evidence that perceptual discrimination becomes more constricted, or less efficient with age, but does not decline. Experiment 2 examined whether reducing both the time of familiarization and comparison time by 50% would allow infants sufficient time to discriminate. Results were consistent with the hypothesis and previous studies were corroborated. These findings highlight the important role of perceptual experience in young infants' perceptual discrimination abilities and provide a greater degree of clarity regarding present use of the concept perceptual narrowing.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Fair, Joseph Edward, "Infant Facial Discrimination and Perceptual Narrowing" (2009). All Theses and Dissertations. 2154.
Perceptual Narrowing, visual discrimination, Barbary Macaque, Cross-species, infant, looking time