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Zach Weiss

on 18 November 2013

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A man, S.B., had been blind his entire life.
Theoretical Propositions
The "visual cliff" avoids the problem of putting the subject into any real jeopardy.
Criticisms &
Subsequent Research
By the time infants were tested on the visual cliff, they had already learned to avoid such situations.
Recent Applications
He had a corneal transplant which restored his sight.
He lost his depth perception (hospital window)
This intrigued experimental psychologists! (inborn or learned)
Many psychologists believe that our most important visual skill is depth perception.
Abstract cont.
Without Depth perception...
Survival would be nearly impossible
You would run into things
Not be able to judge how far away a predator was.
Or step right off cliffs, (Isn't that related the name of the article?)
For the Visual Learners...
Can we test depth perception by putting people on the edge of a cliff and seeing whether or not they fall off? OF COURSE NOT!
Eleanor Gibson
Richard Walk
test out this theory in this experiment.
Gibson and Walk believe that depth perception and the avoidance of a drop-off are natural, not products of experience.
Table about 4 feet high with a top made from a piece of thick, clear glass.
Solid surface with red-and-white checkered pattern.
Infants as subjects
Purpose: To see if they could discriminate between the shallow and deep sides and avoid stepping off "the cliff."
Took place in Cornell University
27 out of 36 children crossed the shallow side
3 crossed the deep side with hesitation
Found that most animals developed depth perception at same time they could walk
Little question that they were perceiving the depth of the cliff.
A later study using younger children (2-5 months) showed that they had not yet developed a fear of falling.
Thanks to Gibson and Walk, scientists have been able to further investigate depth perception in a more clear and systematic way.
It is still debated weather depth perception is learned or genetic.
Virtual reality to help developmentally disabled
Deep vs. shallow slants
Mother instructed to use fear in another study
Various studies have shown that depth perception is present at birth, but the fear of falling and the avoidance of danger is learned when the infant learns how to crawl
Some Depth Perception Illusions
By: Zach W.
Zach W.
Ivana C.
Lara B.

Other Tests
Animals were tested as well
Chicks, goats, lambs, cats all 'passed'
Rats, turtles 'failed'
Full transcript