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Monday, February 8, 2016

What Babies See That You Cannot

What Little Babies See That You No Longer Can

Before developing perceptual constancy, three- to four-month-old babies have a striking ability to see image differences that are invisible to adults. They lose this superior skill around the age of five months

Susana Martinez-Conde | February 1, 2016

[...] There are many indications that constancy effects must have helped us survive (and continue to do so). One such clue is that we are not born with perceptual constancy, but develop it many months after birth. So at first we see all differences, and then we learn to ignore certain types of differences so that we can recognize the same object as unchanging in many varied scenarios. When perceptual constancy arises, we lose the ability to detect multiple contradictions that are nevertheless highly noticeable to young babies.

Computer-generated renditions of the same 3D object. A and B were rendered from different light fields but look similar.C look matte and very different from B, but in reality B and C are closer than A and B. Source:

<more at; related links: (Subjective constancy) and (Pre-constancy Vision in Infants. Jiale Yang, So Kanazawa, Masami K. Yamaguchi, Isamu Motoyoshi. Current Biology 25, 1–4. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.10.053. [Summary: Our visual system can easily estimate the constant color and material of external objects despite dynamic changes in the retinal image across viewpoints and illuminations in natural scenes. It is commonly believed that this high-level visual function, called “perceptual constancy,” is acquired through postnatal learning [1], building upon low-level functions that have developed earlier, such as image discrimination. However, we demonstrate here that before developing perceptual constancy, 3- to 4-month-old infants have a striking ability to discriminate slight image changes due to illumination that are not salient for adults. These young infants lose this ability after 5 months of age and then develop an ability to perceive distal surface properties (glossy or matte) at 7–8 months of age. Moreover, we identify the transition period between these two functions at 5–6 months of age, wherein infants show difficulty in both image and surface discrimination. These findings support the notion that acquiring perceptual constancy leads to a loss of sensitivity to variant information, which is negligible for constant surface material perception. We suggest that the immature visual system may initially directly access local image features and then develops a complementary constant neural representation of the properties of an object.]); further: (Do Babies Know When They're Skyping?
Grandparents, take heart! Research suggests your little dumplings know they're interacting with you in a way that's more profound than watching Sesame Street. September 10, 2015)>

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