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Child Dev. 1994 Feb;65(1):58-69.

The categorization of above and below spatial relations by young infants.

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Department of Psychology, Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA 15301.


3 experiments using the familiarization-novelty preference procedure were conducted to investigate whether 3-month-old infants could form categorical representations of the spatial relations above and below. In Experiment 1, one group of infants familiarized with exemplars depicting a dot in different positions above a horizontal bar displayed a subsequent visual preference for a novel category exemplar (dot below bar) that was paired with a familiar category exemplar (dot in novel position above bar). A second group of infants presented with exemplars in which the dot appeared in variable locations below the bar also responded preferentially to a novel category exemplar (dot above bar) when it was paired with a familiar category exemplar (dot in new position below bar). These preferences did not result from the salience of vertical up-down changes in dot position or the encoding of dot positions relative to an internal horizontal midline (Experiment 3) or from an inability to discriminate the members of each category (Experiment 2), but rather would seem to be a consequence of the ability to represent categorically the spatial relations above and below. The data provide evidence for early categorical organization in human spatial memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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