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From parts to wholes: mechanisms of development in infant visual object processing

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date03/2004
JournalInfancy
Journal number2
Volume5
Number of pages21
Pages131-151
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Visual object processing in infancy is often described as proceeding from an early stage in which object features are processed independently to a later stage in which relations between features are taken into account (e.g., Cohen, 1998). Here we present the Representational Acuity Hypothesis, which argues that this behavioral shift can be explained by a developmental decrease in the size of neural receptive fields in the cortical areas responsible for object representation, together with a tuning to specific object features. We evaluate this hypothesis with a connectionist model of infant perceptual categorization. The model shows a behavioral shift in featural to relational processing consistent with similar results observed in the infant categorization experiments of Younger (1985) and Younger and Cohen (1986).