How Animals and Humans Aike Develop their Seeing Capabilities.

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a) Describe 2 studies of perceptual development (12 marks). b) Assess the way in which such studies help to explain the development of perception (12 marks). In the following essay I intend to describe two studies of perceptual development. I then intend to assess such studies and how they help to explain the development of perception. By perceptual development, I mean how animals and humans alike develop their seeing capabilities.

This development of perception could be learnt or innate. By innate, I mean to be born with the ability. a) Gibson and Walk conducted a study in 1960. The study was investigating Depth Perception. The study involved a 6-month-old child, 24-hour-old chicks, kids and lambs.

Gibson and Walk used a 'Visual Cliff' to conduct the study. The 'Visual Cliff' was comprised of 2 floors. On one side there was a check-board pattern, on the other side there is glass floor. Below the glass floor there was another floor with check-board pattern. This was placed so that an illusion of a cliff and depth was created. At first the child was placed and was found to be reluctant to go onto the glass.

The child's reluctance could be seen as even with encouragement from the child's mother, the child refused to go onto the glass. The study was continued on chicks, kids and lambs. All subjects studied refused to go onto the glass. Held and Hein conducted a study in 1965. The study was investigating Depth Perception. The study involved two kittens.

The kittens were kept in the dark for a period of eight weeks since their birth and for three hours per day they were kept in a 'Kitten Carousel'. The kittens were given appropriate name. 'Passive Kitten' and Active Kitten' were their names. The Active Kitten was given the ability to move freely at it's own discretion, during the eight weeks. The Passive Kitten was unable to move freely during the eight weeks. Both Kittens were released into the light.

The Passive Kitten showed no evidence of perceiving depth. The Active Kitten did far better then the Passive Kitten. b) Studies like the above two help explain the development of perception. Studies do this by allowing us to understand if perception is learnt or an innate process. The first study suggested that their subjects could perceive Depth Perception. However the study did not clearly identify whether perception was innate or learnt.

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