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Perception and the nature-nurture debate

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wendy askam

on 30 September 2014

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Transcript of Perception and the nature-nurture debate

The nature position
Gibsons direct theory says that all the information we need is already out there. he proposed differentiation theory to explain how this innate system develops.

At first infants over generalise and see everything as the same but with experience they can see differences between objects and events. Continued exposure makes you realise what is different between objects and results in differentiation.
Infant and cross cultural research
Infants have much more developed perceptual systems than we once thought, supporting the nature debate

cross cultural research also indicates that perceptual abilities are largely universa and innate - any differences are due to differentiation or the use of culturally specific conventions to test perception which causes an imposed etic.
Pattern perception
Hubel and Wiesel (1962) found that the perceptual abilities of a cat were based on an innate system
The Nurture debate
Gregory's indirect theory is that we do not have enough in the environment to make sense of it - we need to rely on our past experiences and expectations to amke sense of the world.

Experience has an effect on perceptual abilities. eg older babies and people living in urban environments showed more advanced abilities to interpret depth cues, though this may be due to the process of maturation (nature) rather than enrichment (nurture).

Some perceptual abilities do seem to be an effect of the environment - the carpentered environment is significant in explaining the muller-lyer illusion.

Non-human animal studies
Blakemore and Cooper (1970) raised kittens in a perceptually restricted world

Non-Human animal research
another study was done by Held and Hein (1963) . They found that visual experience on its own wasn't enough. In this experiment, one kitten was placed in a basket attached to a cntral pole while a second kitten was able to walk around the pole and in doing so turned the carousel turning the basket. The active kitten developed normal vision but this was not the case for the passive kitten. This suggests that both sensory and motor experiences are necessary to develop perception.

There are ethical issues with these studies - the animal may have their vision permanently impaired

Also to what extent can we generalise to humans?

we are born as a blank slate (tabula rasa)
behaviour is innate
Gopnik and Meltzoff (1997) combine the two positions with their 'theory' theory,proposing that infants do have substantial innate knowledge, but perceptual development needs the construction of hypotheses which are tested against reality
Perception and the nature-nurture debate
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