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Binocular vision and spatial perception in 4- and 5-month-old infants.


Four experiments investigated the relation between the development of binocular vision and infant spatial perception. Experiments 1 and 2 compared monocular and binocular depth perception in 4- and 5-month-old infants. Infants in both age groups reached more consistently for the nearer of two objects under binocular viewing conditions than under monocular viewing conditions. Experiments 3 and 4 investigated whether the superiority of binocular depth perception in 4-month-olds is related to the development of sensitivity to binocular disparity. Under binocular viewing conditions in Experiment 3, infants identified as disparity-sensitive reached more consistently for the nearer object than did infants identified as disparity-insensitive. The two groups' performances did not differ under monocular viewing conditions. These results suggest that, binocularly, the disparity-sensitive infants perceived the objects' distances more accurately than did the disparity-insensitive infants. In Experiment 4, infants were habituated to an object, then presented with the same object and a novel object that differed only in size. Disparity-sensitive infants showed size constancy by recovering from habituation when viewing the novel object. Disparity-insensitive infants did not show clear evidence of size constancy. These findings suggest that the development of sensitivity to binocular disparity is accompanied by a substantial increase in the accuracy of infant spatial perception.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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