Infant Perception: Methods of Testing

Scientists once thought that infants perceived the world as a “blooming, buzzing confusion.” One reason scientists now know this idea is wrong is that testing methods have been devised to ask questions about what infants see, hear, smell, and taste. This entry describes some of the most important methods of testing in the study of infant perception.

Infants and nonhuman animals pose similar challenges to a perceptual scientist: neither can follow instructions, respond to requests, or maintain interest in a task for extended periods. Accordingly, many methods of testing used to measure adult human perception cannot be used with infants. However, infants are capable of changing where they look, moving their arms and legs, and other simple actions. Moreover, their bodies and brains respond to perceptual ...

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