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Hsin-Yueh Hsu, Sarina Hui-Lin Chien; Discriminability of “top-heavy” versus “bottom-heavy” geometric patterns in 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-month old infants. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):1065. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.8.1065.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose. It is well documented that infants exhibit visual preferences for real faces and facelike patterns. Recent studies (Simion et al, 2002; Turati, 2004) showed that newborns preferred a non-facelike stimulus with more elements in the upper part of a configuration, and demonstrated that up-down asymmetry is crucial in determining their face preference. However, a reliable discriminability between the up-down asymmetry patterns has not been be demonstrated as the prerequisite for a significant spontaneous preference towards one type of configuration. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to use multiple discrete-trial technique (Chien, Palmer, & Teller, 2003; Civan, Teller, & Palmer, 2005) to further examine the basic discriminability for “top-heavy” v.s. “bottom-heavy” geometric patterns across different ages.
Methods. The forced-choice novelty preference method (Chien, Palmer & Teller, 2003) was used to test 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-month old infants. The stimuli were the same three pairs of “top-heavy” and “bottom-heavy” geometric patterns in Simon et al (2002). In the familiarization phase of each trial, the infant was presented with two identical geometric stimuli (either “top-heavy” or “bottom-heavy”). In the test phase, the infant was presented with two stimuli where one was the same as in the familiarization and the other was a novel one that was rotated 180°. We expected to see a reliable novelty preference towards the new stimulus if infants could remember the familiarized stimulus and discriminate it from the new one.
Results. Preliminary data analysis showed a fairly balanced and significant novelty preference across ages, regardless of whether the familiarized pattern was the “top-heavy” or the “bottom-heavy” one. In addition, individual infant's novelty responses for the three kinds of stimuli showed no positive correlations at al. This finding does not support the notion that there is an intrinsic preference for “top-heavy” pattern.
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