Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Infant information processing across the visual...

Electronic data

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Infant information processing across the visual field: from visual perception to social cognition

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2022
Number of pages210
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Detecting information from our rich visual environment is fundamental to guide
our attention and to act in the surrounding space. Thus far, infant visual
information processing has been primarily studied presenting images within
limited visual areas on standard computer displays. This is a simplification of a
much richer visual environment in which information derives from a wide space
including more peripheral locations. Evidence shows that infants’ peripheral
vision is developing during the first postnatal year of life. Nevertheless, most
studies used flashing lights and little is known about social and non-social
information processing at high eccentricities. The aim of this thesis was to
understand how low- and high-level visual information is processed across the
developing visual field and how it then translates into social behaviour and more
naturalistic environments. This aim was achieved by exploring infants’
sensitivities to different visual information - such as Gabor patches, face-like
stimuli and faces expressing emotions - across a wide visual field extending to
mid-peripheral locations (up to 60° eccentricity) and by investigating social
behaviour during virtual interactions. In Chapter 1, the literature on infant
information processing ranging from visual perception to social cognition was
presented and the objectives of the thesis were described. In Chapter 2, the
extent of the peripheral visual field in response to basic low-level visual stimuli
was measured in 9-month-old infants and adults. In Chapter 3, the influence of
stimulus content on peripheral information detection was investigated by
presenting 9-month-old infants with face-like targets across the visual field. In
Chapter 4, a tool for gaze and head tracking beyond standard screen sizes was
described. In Chapter 5, attention-getting and attention-holding mechanisms
towards different facial emotional expressions appearing at the edge of the
developing visual field were investigated in 9-month-olds. In Chapter 6, the
gaze following skills of 11- to 12-month-old infants during virtual social
interactions were explored. Overall, the results of these studies showed that
low- and high-level visual content affects visual field sensitivities and attention.
The implications of the results for visual information processing were presented
in Chapter 7.