Chapter 5
Newborn Reflexes
– Survival
 breathing, sucking, swallowing
– Primitive
 Babinski, swimming, grasping
Infant States
Infant States
Most time asleep
– 16-18 hours a day
Average 2-year-old = 12-13 hours
 Changes  brain maturation and social
see/hear/smell/feel the
same things we do???
Assessing Infant Perception
Preferential Looking Technique
Assessing Infant Perception
Preferential Looking Technique (con’t)
– Patterns to solids
– Infant visual acuity
– Faces to other patterns
– Tells us preference
– No preference doesn’t prove infants can’t
Assessing Infant Perception
– Familiarity  lack of response
– Dishabituation
– Three methods
 Looking
 High amplitude sucking
 Heart rate
– Several presentations of a stimulus for
habitutation to occur
Assessing Infant Perception
Evoked Potentials
– Brain waves
 Different brain wave patterns
Learning in Infancy
Classical Conditioning
– Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) elicits an
unconditioned response (UCR)
– Neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) paired with
– Eventually CS elicits a conditioned response
– Possible for newborns, but must have survival
Learning in Infancy
Operant Conditioning
– Learner emits a response
– Consequences
 Repeat favorable, limit unfavorable
– Newborns learn very slowly, rate increases
with age
– At 2 months, context-dependent
Figure 5.15 When ribbons are attached to their ankles, 2- to 3-month-old infants soon
learn to make a mobile move by kicking their legs. But do they remember how to
make the mobile move when tested days or weeks after the original learning? These
are the questions that Rovee-Collier has explored in her fascinating research on infant
Learning in Infancy
Observational Learning –
– Newborn imitation
– Imitation of novel responses
– Immediate imitation, then deferred imitation
Sensory/Perceptual Capabilities
Touch, Temperature, and Pain
– Particularly sensitive on hands, feet, and
– Temperature
– Pain – even at 1 day
– Dishabituate sucking to novel objects at 3
– Prefer to manipulate novel objects at 5
Sensory/Perceptual Capabilities
– Sweet, salty, sour, bitter
– Prefer sweet
– How do we know???
– Present before birth?
Sensory/Perceptual Capabilities
– Unpleasant smells
– Breastfed babies recognize mothers
 6 days
 2 day old cannot
– Bottle-fed infants later
Sensory/Perceptual Capabilities
– Discriminate sounds
 Loudness
 Duration
 Direction
 Frequency
– Prefer mother’s voice
– Phonemes
– Hearing loss
Sensory/Perceptual Capabilities
– Least mature
– Muscles weak
– Cells in retina not
mature or dense
– Optic nerve and “relay”
pathways immature
– Visual acuity poor
 Neonate 20/600
 6 months 20/100
 Adultlike at one year
Sensory/Perceptual Capabilities
Vision (con’t)
– Spatial frequency gradings
Sensory/Perceptual Capabilities
Vision (con’t)
– Color perception
 Certain hues
 By 2-3 months, all basic colors
 By 4 months, group different shades into same
– Biological timetable
Visual Perception
Identifying boundaries – Spelke
– 3 to 5 month olds shown two objects
– touched vs. separated
– stationary vs. moving (either independently
or together)
Visual Perception
objects touched, stood still, or moved in the same
direction  reached for them as a whole
objects separated or moved in opposite directions
 behaved as distinct
repeated with objects of different shapes, colors
motion and spatial arrangement  identification of
objects; not shape, texture, and color
Figure 5.7 Perceiving objects as wholes. An infant is habituated to a rod partially
hidden by the block in front of it. The rod is either stationary (A) or moving (B).
When tested afterward, does the infant treat the whole rod (C) as “familiar”? We
certainly would, for we could readily interpret cues that tell us that there is one long
rod behind the block and would therefore regard the whole rod as familiar. But if the
infant shows more interest in the whole rod (C) than in the two rod segments (D), he
or she has apparently not been able to use available cues to perceive a whole rod.
Depth Perception
Visual Perception
Depth Perception (con’t)
– Radar: young infants in walkers
– Readily crossed deep side of cliff
Held & Hein
– Self-propelled movement
Visual Perception
Face Perception
– Newborns  faces over patterns (Fantz)
– Maurer & Barrera
habituated 1 and 2 month olds to scrambled face
test: infant saw 3 patterns, one at a time:
– the habituation pattern
– a different (symmetrical) scrambled face
– a naturally arranged face
Visual Perception
Face perception (con’t)
– 1 month: equal looking at all 3 test patterns
– 2 months: dishabituate to new patterns –
look most at natural face
Visual Perception
Particular faces by 3 months
Attractive over unattractive
– Langlois and colleagues
– Found in 3-, 6-, and 12-month-old infants, as
well as in older children and adults
Intermodal Perception
Integration at Birth?
– Yes: reaching for objects that are seen
– Yes: looking in the direction of sounds
– Yes: expecting to see source of sound, or to
feel objects that were reached for
Intermodal Perception
Integrating sensory information from 2 or
more modalities
– (differs from text…)
Spelke (1979): 4-month-olds film
Ability to recognize an object through one
sense that was familiar only through
 Some research connects cross-modal
transference and habituation speed with
later intelligence and language skills