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					                                Researching Infant Sensory Perception

Preference:
      - the infant looks longer at what it prefers
      - used for discrimination studies
              e.g., visual patterns

Habituation:
      - no longer responding to a stimulus that has become familiar
      - shows whether the infant can detect a change
      - when dishabituated, the infant responds again

Evoked Potentials Method:
     - recording changes in brain waves that indicate a stimulus has been detected
     - can be used with very young infants

High Amplitude Sucking:
      - infants control the occurrence of a stimulus by increased sucking
      - can indicate discrimination and/or preference

Heart rate:
      - a decrease in heart rate indicates interest
      - used with very young infants, e.g., in visual cliff research


                                  Sensory and Perceptual Capacities

Sensation - when a sensory system detects a stimulus

Perception - when the brain tries to make sense of the       stimulus


Vision:
      - least developed at birth: optic nerve not fully
      myelinated; retinal cells shift

      - infants look when they're awake

      - focus best at objects between 4 and 30 inches away

      - scanning ability develops quickly

      - distance vision is 20/400 to 20/600

      - by 12 months, acuity equals adult vision

      - visual discrimination develops quickly
         - no color vision at birth

         - by 4-5 months, can discriminate different shades of                     color


Hearing:
      - show physical reactions to sounds

         - can discriminate loudness

         - can orient to location

         - by 1 month, can discriminate speech sounds

       - by 6 months, can use hearing to determine distance
of an object



       Hearing loss in early childhood places a child developmentally at risk, both intellectually and
socially.
Language is a crucial socializing agent.


Smell:
         - recognize mother's smell

         - 1-3 days old: infants were able to discriminate between four odors

         - turn away from aversive odors


Taste:
         - able to distinguish salt, bitter, sweet and sour

         - like sweet
         - facial expression changes for bitter and sour

Touch and pain:
     - even premature infants respond to touch

         - rooting, grasping and Babinski reflexes provide evidence that infants perceive touch

         - infants experience pain: cry is short and high pitched

         - infants requiring surgical interventions are still not always given an anesthetic

				
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