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Somatosens Mot Res. 2003;20(1):13-8.

Cross-modal recognition of shape from hand to eyes in human newborns.

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  • 1Laboratory Cognition and Development (UMR 8605 CNRS), University RenĂ© Descartes, Paris V, France.


The hypothesis that the ability to coordinate information between tactual and visual modalities is present at birth and dependent on perceptual inherent structures was tested in human newborns. Using an intersensory paired-preference procedure, we showed that newborns can visually recognize the shape of an object that they have previously manipulated with their right hand, out of sight. This is an experimental evidence that newborns can extract shape information in a tactual format and transform it in a visual format before they have had the opportunity to learn from the pairings of visual and tactual experience. This is contrary to a host of theories and models of perceptual learning, both traditional (empiricist philosophers) and modern (connectionist).

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