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Albert Yonas, Amelia J Alexander, Jennifer M Jacques; Actions of 9-month-old infants directed at real toys, photographed toys, and surfaces. Journal of Vision 2003;3(9):846. doi: 10.1167/3.9.846.
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Deloache (1998) reported that infants do not fully understand the nature of pictures, and when viewing them with two eyes, “9-month-olds manually investigate pictures, touching and feeling depicted objects as if they were real objects and even trying to pick them up off the page.” It is possible that rubbing and scratching of a picture of a toy are actually explorations of the texture of the 2-dimensional surface rather than attempts to grasp a 3-dimensional object extending above the surface.
Manual behaviors directed toward a toy, a photograph of that toy, and two pictures of a surface that did not include a graspable object were assessed in 21 9-month-olds. To attract the infants' attention, both non-object control displays presented equal sized colored regions. One control display was untextured and the edges of its colored regions were sharp. The other had a burlap-like texture and blurry edges on its colored regions. From video tape recordings, observers scored manual behaviors directed towards the displays while the infant was looking at the displays.
In a pilot study, infants' hands were significantly higher when approaching the real toy than the flat displays. In the present study, before the hand entered the region around the toy, the height of the infants' index fingers clustered around the upper portion of the toy. This was not true for the picture of the toy or the colored surface displays. Infants brought fingers and thumbs closer together in a pincer motion (suggesting an attempt to grasp) on 83% of the real toy trials and on 2% of the trials in each of the 2-dimensional conditions. Scratching, patting, and rubbing occurred equally to the picture of the toy and to the control displays. Infants' actions toward the displays suggest that they perceived the actual spatial layout of the objects. While the real toy produced grasping, the picture of the toy and the control displays evoked actions that explored the texture of the surface.
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