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Texture segmentation and 'pop-out' in infants and children: The effect of test field size

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

—The ability of infants and children to segment textures based on differences in line orientation and blob size was investigated, using a forced-choice preferential looking method. In the first experiment, a stimulus pair (a homogeneous texture and a texture containing either a group of sixteen elements or a single element of an orthogonal orientation or a larger blob size) was presented on two separate test fields. Preference for the figure defined by differences in blob size was seen already in 2-month-old infants. In contrast, preference for a figure defined by differences in orientation emerged at 9-12 months of age and became adult-like around school age (see also Sireteanu and Rieth, Behavioural Brain Res., 49, 133-139, 1992). Preference for the single discrepant element was always lower than preference for the discrepant group. In the second experiment, segmentation of oriented textures presented on a single, rather than two separate surfaces was tested. A significant preference for the embedded discrepant group, but not for the single discrepant element, was seen already at 3 months of age. These results show that infants as young as 3 months of age are able to detect a boundary defined by differences in line orientation (see also Atkinson and Braddick, Behavioural Brain Res., 49, 123-131, 1992). However, this ability does not appear to lead to the 'pop-out' phenomenon, as seen in adult observers, until much later.

Affiliations: 1: Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Department of Neurophysiology, Deutschordenstrasse 46, 60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany


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