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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2009 Sep;92(2):225-34. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.06.002. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

Infant visual habituation.

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Department of Psychology and Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, University of Kansas, 1415 Jayhawk Boulevard, 426 Fraser Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.


The use of visual habituation in the study of infant cognition and learning is reviewed. This article traces the history of the technique, underlying theory, and procedural variation in its measurement. In addition, we review empirical findings with respect to the cognitive processes that presumably contribute to habituation, studies of developmental course and long-term prediction, as well as recent attempts to address or explain the phenomenon of visual habituation through the use of mathematical or quantitative models. The review ends with an appeal for a return to the study of habituation per se as a valid measure of infant learning, rather than relegating the phenomenon to its use as a technique for familiarizing infants in procedures testing for discrimination or recognition.

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