a) Describe 2 studies of perceptual development (12 marks). b) Assess the way inwhich such studies help to explain the development of perception (12 marks). Inthe following essay I intend to describe two studies of perceptual development.I then intend to assess such studies and how they help to explain thedevelopment of perception. By perceptual development, I mean how animals andhumans alike develop their seeing capabilities. This development of perceptioncould be learnt or innate.
By innate, I mean to be born with the ability. a)Gibson and Walk conducted a study in 1960. The study was investigating DepthPerception. The study involved a 6-month-old child, 24-hour-old chicks, kids andlambs. Gibson and Walk used a ‘Visual Cliff’ to conduct the study. The ‘VisualCliff’ was comprised of 2 floors. On one side there was a check-board pattern,on the other side there is glass floor. Below the glass floor there was anotherfloor with check-board pattern.
This was placed so that an illusion of a cliffand depth was created. At first the child was placed and was found to bereluctant to go onto the glass. The child’s reluctance could be seen as evenwith encouragement from the child’s mother, the child refused to go onto theglass. The study was continued on chicks, kids and lambs. All subjects studiedrefused to go onto the glass. Held and Hein conducted a study in 1965.
The studywas investigating Depth Perception. The study involved two kittens. The kittenswere kept in the dark for a period of eight weeks since their birth and forthree hours per day they were kept in a ‘Kitten Carousel’. The kittens weregiven appropriate name. ‘Passive Kitten’ and Active Kitten’ were their names.
The Active Kitten was given the ability to move freely at it’s own discretion,during the eight weeks. The Passive Kitten was unable to move freely during theeight weeks. Both Kittens were released into the light. The Passive Kittenshowed no evidence of perceiving depth. The Active Kitten did far better thenthe Passive Kitten. b) Studies like the above two help explain the developmentof perception.
Studies do this by allowing us to understand if perception islearnt or an innate process. The first study suggested that their subjects couldperceive Depth Perception. However the study did not clearly identify whetherperception was innate or learnt. This could not be identified as the child’s agecreated a ‘time period’ were perception could be learnt. To clarify this thestudy was conducted on animal subjects. All of the subjects could perceivedepth.
However the animal subjects walk from almost birth. This ability to walksuggests a different process of perception to the human perception. Perceptionin the animal subjects seems to be an innate process. The second study wasconfined to ‘Kittens’. The study suggested that depth perception is learnt. Thiswas suggested by the ‘Passive Kitten’, restricted from movement was unable toperceive depth once free. The kitten was unable to use sensory motorco-ordination.
This suggests a link between perception and sensory motorco-ordination. The study suggested perception is learnt in kittens. Environmentfactors also may affect perception. The study had ethical concerns, the ‘PassiveKitten’ was ‘crippled’. The Kittens parents may have a genetic affect on theirbehavior. The study does not suggest what type of kittens was investigated. ForExample; ‘Domestic or Non-Domestic’.
There are other variations of Kittens(cats) and therefore this may be claimed as a variable. Hence making the resultsinvalid. . Different types of Kittens usually require their parents for a variedperiod of their early life.
This may affect the results. Both studies did notsuggest what depth perception is like in ‘Humans’. The studies were confined toanimals, which can not communicate through any human created language andtherefore misinterpretation can occur. Hence, the validity of the results comesinto concern. Other studies of perception have occurred.
However conductingstudies of human perception is complicated, as it is not easy to generalise.Commonly studies are done on westernised subjects rather than subjects fromthird world countries. Studies suggest that cultural variation, environment andsocial aspects can have an affect on perception. Therefore many studiesconducted up to date are invalid for not considering this issue as a variable.The studies reveal different results. However these different results enable meto understand the development of perception. This suggests that perception isdeveloped in many different ways and therefore can not conclusively be used togeneralise.