Is Perception Innate? Essay

Is Perception Innate? Essay

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Whether infants were born with the ability to understand what they are seeing has been thoroughly researched by developmental psychologists. The ability of perception and whether infants learn through experience or whether it is an innate ability will be placed under scrutiny in this essay. The ideas of size and shape constancy, motion and binocular parallaxes in regards to depth perception are the main aspects that have been researched in order to determine a conclusion to this question at hand.
Within perception, there have been many key ideas as to what causes perception and whether it is innate. Batki, Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Connellan and Ahluwalia (2000) focused on new-born children – particularly those aged less than 2 months old. Using a gaze study, they measured how long 2 month old infants looked at a photograph of a woman with her eyes open and her eyes closed. They found that the infants spent more time looking at a photograph with eyes open. From this, they concluded that infants have a preference for a face-like pattern and believed that this may be an innate mechanism within the brain that detects eye-like stimuli and, therefore, directs attention towards that stimulus. It has also been noted that babies from just one month old prefer a facial pattern (Fantz, 1961). Fogel and Melson (1988) gathered evidence that infants between the ages of four and eight weeks focused on the eyes of a photograph. This evidence seems to point towards an innate ability to focus and recognise faces – or at least, eyes. This points to babies being able to recognise and understands contours on a pattern to make up a facial feature that they can relate to.
Depth Perception has been highly rese...


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...etinal image size. Journal of Experimental Psychology.Human Perception & Performance, 32(6), 1398-1404. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.32.6.1398
Ni, R., Braunstein, M. L., & Andersen, G. J. (2005). Distance perception from motion parallax and ground contact. Visual Cognition, 12(6), 1235-1254. doi:10.1080/13506280444000724
Slater, A., Mattock, A. & Brown, E. (1990) Size constancy at birth: Newborn infants’ responses to retinal and real size. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 49, 314-322
Ueno, M., Uchiyama, I., Campos, J. J., Dahl, A., & Anderson, D. I. (2012). The organization of wariness of heights in experienced crawlers. Infancy, 17(4), 376-392. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7078.2011.00083.x
Walk, R. D., & Gibson, E. J. (1961). A comparative and analytical study of visual depth perception. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 75(15), 1-44. doi:10.1037/h0093827

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