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J Exp Child Psychol. 2003 Nov;86(3):244-51.

Infants' perception of illusory contours in static and moving figures.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Chuo University 742-1, Higashinakano, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 192-0393, Japan.


We investigated 3-8-month-olds' (N=62) perception of illusory contours in a Kanizsa figure by using a preferential looking technique. Previous studies suggest that this ability develops around 8 months of age. However, we hypothesized that even 3-4-month-olds could perceive illusory contours in a moving figure. To check our hypothesis, we created an illusory contour figure in which the illusory square underwent lateral movement. By rotating the elements of this figure, we created non-illusory contour figures. We found that: (1) infants preferred moving illusory contours to non-illusory contours by 3-4 months of age, and (2) only 7-8-month-olds preferred static illusory contours. Our findings demonstrate that motion information promotes infants' perception of illusory contours. Our results parallel those reported in the study of partly occluded objects ().

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