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Visual Processing in Newborns: Are face special

Newborns discrimination between different facial features

Courtney Leveille

on 4 February 2011

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Transcript of Visual Processing in Newborns: Are face special

Visual Processing in Newborns:
Are faces special? Chiara Turati and Francesca Simion's article
"Newborns' recognition of changing and unchanging aspects of schematic faces"
Purpose of article:
Turati and Simion wanted to investigate newborn's abilities to discriminate, recognize, and learn visual information that is embedded in the schematic face-like patterns prefered at birth. Experiment 1
-Determine whether infants are able to discriminate two schematic face-like configurations on the basis of their internal features

Turati and Simion found that newborn infants are able to discriminate highly similar face-like configurations on the basis of the shape of their inner features Experiment 2
-Determine whether the face-like configurations that were differentiated in Experiment 1 could be treated as similar when compared with other face-like configurations with highly different inner-features

Newborns looked longer at the face-like stimulus with internal features that were more different from those of the familiar face-like configuration Experiment 3
-Investigate whether newborns are able to manifest the capacity to recognize a perceptual similarity when a greater number of face-like stimuli with different components were displayed in the familiarization phase

Evidence seems to indicate newborns' ability to recognize common perceptual characteristics of with-in group elements shared by face-like stimuli. Experiment 4
-The goal was to test whether newborn infants could discriminate between exemplars selected within each of the two perceptual categories taken into account in experiment 3 (i.e., closed- and open-shaped inner features of face-like configurations)

Overall, evidence shows that newborns are able to discriminate the face-like within-category exemplars presented in Experiment 3. General Discussion and Conclusion on Turati and Simion

-Experiment 1: showed that newborns discriminate between face-like stimuli on the basis of their inner components, indicating that they are not constrained to process the overall face configuration without attending to the shapes of its inner element.

-Experiment 2: demonstrated that newborns treated two face-like configurations with similar components as more alike than two face-like configurations with non-similar components, showing that they are able to extract, process, and recognize a perceptually invariant property shared by the stimuli

-Experiment 3: showed that, in conditions of higher within-category variability, newborns are able to form a perceptual category of face-like configurations with closed features

-Experiment 4: as shown in this experiment, Experiment 3 cannot be ascribed to newborns' failure to discriminate between exemplars with different closed-shaped inner components Newborns View Adults View An infant's view compared to an Adult's view Newborn Vision Capabilities
Least well-developed sense
Accommodation and visual acuity limited
Sensitive to brightness
Can discriminate some colours
Tracking moving targets

In sum, the young infants' visual system is not operating at peak efficiency, but it is certainly working. Snellen Chart Used in eye examinations to provide
an approximate measure of visual acuity Normal Adult
Acuity Infants would not be
able to see this 'E' Four Techniques In which researchers use in getting nonverbal infants to tell us what they can sense and perceive 1. The Preference Method Method used to gain information about infants’ perceptual abilities by presenting two (or more) stimuli and observing which stimulus the infant prefers 2. Habituation Method Decrease in one’s response to a stimulus that has become familiar through repetition. As infants stop responding to familiar stimuli, they are telling us that they recognize them as old. 3. The Evoked Potentials Change in patterning of the brain waves that indicates that an individual detects (senses) a stimulus 4. High Amplitude Sucking Method of assessing infants’ perceptual capabilities that capitalizes on the ability of infants to make interesting events last by varying the rate at which they suck on a special pacifier Which method of measuring infant perception capabilities would you guess is the most popular form used by researchers? Robert Fantz Test of infant
facial preference Two Process Theory of Face Recognition 1. CONSPEC 2. CONLERN The notion that infants are born with some information about the structure of faces. CONSPEC helps to guide the preference for facelike patterns found in newborn infants.
CONSPEC is contrasted with CONLERN is responsible for learning about the visual characteristics of conspecifics. In the human infant, CONLERN does not influence looking behavior until 2 months of age CONSPEC and CONLERN: A Two-Process Theory of Infant Face Recognition
John Morton and Mark H. Johnson. (1991) Purpose of study
Wanted to research the preferences in newborn infants over schematic faces and scrambled faces. Is CONLERN really innate in newborn infants

Tracking Technique-infants ability to follow a picture (turning head and eyes)
Looking task- Stationary stimuli where the picture is held in one position infron of the infant

Newborn infants showed a higher preference of the schematic faces over the scrambled faces.
Showed a stronger preference for the schematic faces when using the tracking technique After learning about CONLERN being an innate concept in newborn infants, do you think that CONLERN enables the infant to be able to discriminate faces? Why Faces Are Not Special to Newborns: An Alternative Account of the Face Preference
Chiara Turanti (2004) 1)Using the role of up down asymmetry and comparing face like configurations with non-face stimuli with top heavy patterns the babies showed no visual preference

2) Elements in a face like configuration were placed lower on the face and was contrasted with a non-face like stimuli that consisted of a top heavy pattern. Newborns preferred the top heavy pattern rather than the face like image. This shows us that babies visual preference is towards the concept of up-down asymmetry, rather then the inner elements themselves. Three-month-olds’ visual preference for faces and its underlying visual processing mechanisms
Chiara Turati, Eloisa Valenza, Irene Leo, Francesca Simion (2005)
Experiment 1
Follows the developmental trend of face preference, testing whether this phenomenon is still present at 3 months when cortical specialization for faces begins to emerge.

5 pairs of stimuli were presented, each composed of an up right face and an upside down face of black and white women’s face—same faces were used for both stimuli.

Visual preference for an upright image of a real face over an upside down face. They found that babies looked toward the area of the face where the eyes are. Thus infants showed a preference for looking at the eyes over other regions of the natural face Experiment 2
Whether up-down asymmetry is capable of producing a preferential response with non-face like stimuli comparing 3 month’s old and newborns

Each stimuli was composed of five black elements that were located in a white rectangle. More high-contrast areas were placed in the upper part of the configuration and a stimulus with high-contrast in the lower bottom. Group one showed T configuration and Group 2 showed U shaped configuration

Compared to newborns , the 3 month’s old preference for the T shaped top heavy configuration disappeared. However, when the other type of stimuli with 4 elements in the upper or lower half of the configuration, both newborns and 3 month’s old showed preference for the top-heavy configuration Experiment 3
If face preference at 3 months of age might be ascribed as in the case of newborns to a nonspecific perceptual bias toward top-heavy patterns

Compared up-down asymmetry and facedness in inducing visual preference. An image of a natural face was presented along with a top-heavy scrambled face in which the features in the upper portion of the configuration paired that present in the natural face.

The natural face attracts the infant’s gaze. Thus face preference doesn’t rely for newborns on the amount of features in the upper portion of the stimuli. Rather it relies on the perceptual information specific to faces. Newborns preference for faces: What is crucial?
Chiara Turati, Francesca Simion, Idanna Milani, and Carlo Umilta (2002) Do you think using these shapes, both the open and closed, are a good idea in representing the inner features of the face? Why do you think that babies are able to discriminate between different closed shaped features (squares, circles), but are unable to discriminate between the different open shaped features (crosses and Xs)? After all of the information that we have presented to today, would you believe that faces are indeed special to infants?
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