NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ929753
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Early Development of Object Unity: Evidence for Perceptual Completion in Newborns
Valenza, Eloisa; Bulf, Hermann
Developmental Science, v14 n4 p799-808 Jul 2011
The present study aimed to investigate whether perceptual completion is available at birth, in the absence of any visual experience. An extremely underspecified kinetic visual display composed of four spatially separated fragments arranged to give rise to an illusory rectangle that occluded a vertical rod (illusory condition) or rotated so as not to elicit perceptual grouping (control condition) was constructed. After newborns' ability to detect the particular kind of rod-and-box display used in the present study had been probed (Experiment 1), they were habituated to the illusory rod-and-box display (Experiment 2), to the control display that did not contain illusory contours (Experiment 3), and to a standard real rod-and-box display akin to those used in previous infants' studies (Experiment 4). Newborns perceived the rod as a connected unit either in the illusory condition (Experiment 2) or in the real condition (Experiment 4), as documented by a preference for a broken rod over a complete rod during the test phase, but not when the occluder was absent (Experiment 3). In all experiments newborns showed no preference between the two test stimuli (control condition), avoiding the possibility that newborns have a spontaneous preference for one test display over the other. Overall, the results of the present study provide evidence that the ability to achieve object unity (1) stems from intrinsic properties of the human perceptual system and (2) is operative from birth, given the right conditions.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A