Discuss the evidence from research into the development of infants' visual perception during the first year of life - Essay Example

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Discuss the evidence from research into the development of infants’ visual perception during the first year of life. Outline Human development is a fascinating area of study. Among other things, it helps understand how a child learns to use complex behaviours in an almost unconscious manner…
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Discuss the evidence from research into the development of infants visual perception during the first year of life
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Download file to see previous pages Since small children are unable to provide feedback the way adult participants in research studies do; there is all the more reason to be careful with the collection and analysis of this information. Traditional methods of conducting studies and data collection cannot be used with infants. Thus, researchers have to be innovative as well as careful in collecting and analysing the data on infants. This essay shall discuss the methods used by researcher, some of the concerns associated with these studies as well as the importance of their findings. Introduction Infants experience significant and rapid development in almost all physiological and psychological aspects in the first few months of their lives (Slater & Oates, 2005). Among the areas that see the most rapid changes is an infant’s visual perception. New-born infants are able to perceive depth, shape and the most basic features of an object (Bukatko & Daehler, 2011). They seem able to discriminate between different objects, and show a preference for new stimuli (Slater & Oates, 2005). A significant concern faced by researchers studying very young children is that they are unable to interact with their participants as they could with adults or older children. Although researcher try to base their conclusions on empirical data as much as possible, it can sometimes be difficult to verify a theory conclusively. Thus, it is often difficult to establish whether a response (or the lack of one) is associated with a genuine phenomenon, or is an artefact of the child’s yet underdeveloped visual, motor and cognitive systems (Bukatko & Daehler, 2011). In an attempt to reduce the effects of these factors, researchers have tried to simplify the means by which they collect data from infants. Typically, data on visual perception is collected by measuring the time a child attends to a particular stimulus (Slater & Oates, 2005). This time maybe calculated mechanically, or more recently, using computers and other technology to aid accuracy. Brain imaging has also been used (albeit sparingly) to understand the development of the brain structures associated with visual perception (Bukatko & Daehler, 2011). As far as possible, researchers try to reduce chances of error due to their own expectations, the child’s limitations or other situational factors. Over time, these studies have tried to expose infants to different types of material, and have tried to identify why children attend to the material that they do. While some old theories have been upheld by new data, others have been modified and even rejected based on fresh data. Significant studies in understanding infants’ visual perception One of the seminal studies in understanding visual perception in infants was conducted by Robert Fantz in 1963. In this study, 18 infants who were just a few days old were shown different stimuli. The researcher measured the amount of time they fixated on each of the stimuli, and the preference shown for each stimulus. Each child was shown six cards, three with bright colours (red, white and fluorescent yellow) and three with patterns in black and white (concentric circles, newsprint and a schematic face pattern). Since infants are unable to respond to instructions or indicate their preference verbally, the researcher chose to place the child in a crib, and present the stimuli at a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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