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ERIC Number: EJ920390
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Early Perceptual Learning
Goldstone, Robert L.; Son, Ji Y.; Byrge, Lisa
Infancy, v16 n1 p45-51 Jan-Feb 2011
Bhatt and Quinn (2011) present a compelling case that human learning is "early" in two very different, but interacting, senses. Learning is "developmentally" early in that even infants show strikingly robust adaptation to the structures present in their world. Learning is also early in an information processing sense because infants adapt their "perceptual" encodings and organizations at an early stage of neural processing. Both senses of "early" speak to the importance of learning because they imply that learners are adapting their representations of their environment in a way that affects all "down-stream" processing. Bhatt and Quinn (2011) describe five categories of learning experiences that lead infants to create new perceptual organizations. They propose two mechanisms of perceptual learning that underpin these five categories. The first is selective attention--learning to attend to relevant information and disregard irrelevant information. The second is unitization--learning to combine together elements to create larger, more complex configurations that come to be processed as a single entity. These two mechanisms are in some ways converses of each other. To these complementary mechanisms of perceptual learning, the authors propose adding a third mechanism: attribute differentiation. In this article, the authors discuss the importance of this third mechanism. Although there are working computational models and at least suggestive evidence that people can come to be able to differentiate originally fused attributes, the authors concur with Bhatt and Quinn's (2011) decision to stress selective attention and unitization. The evidence for attribute differentiation is controversial and not as plentiful as the evidence for the other two mechanisms. However, the authors' reason to discuss it in this article is because it seems like a fruitful avenue for future developmental research. (Contains 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A