Encoding Processes In Infant Recognition

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




This study addressed the issue of whether the visual encoding of simple colored stimuli by three month old infants could best be described in terms of component or compound processing. In addition the effects of stimulus preferences on novelty responding were examined. Three month olds were presented with novel and familiar colored geometric forms in a paired comparison visual recognition paradigm. Three test conditions were presented. In condition 1 infants were presented with novel and familiar stimuli which differed on both the stimulus dimensions of color and form. In condition 2 infants were presented with novel and familiar stimuli which differed only on one component dimension, color or form. Here the familiar colorform stimulus compound was presented during testing and the infant could make the novelty discrimination by comparing the component cues within the salient dimension or by comparing the stimulus compounds Condition 3 was similar to condition 2 except that the familiar compound was not presented on test trials. Here the familiar stimulus contained one familiar component and one novel component, and the novelty discrimination could be made only on the basis of comparison of the salient component cues. In contrast to the prevailing notion that color and form component processing developmentally precedes compound processing the results indicated that the infants were able to discriminate novel and familiar stimuli in conditions 1 and 2 but not in condition 3. The data also indicated that visual preferences and stimulus novelty could have an additive effect on infant visual behavior in a paired comparison paradigm.


Psychology, Experimental

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