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Western Reserve University
Robert L. Fantz of Western Reserve University has described an experiment for determining the preference of newly hatched chicks for food particles of certain shapes, principally with the objective of discovering if such preferences are partly innate [see "The Origin of Form Perception," by Robert L. Fantz; SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, May, 1961].
He first made up synthetic particles about the size of seeds in various two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. The two-dimensional particles ranged in form from circles to triangles and the three-dimensional ones from spheres to pyramids. To eliminate the influence of such factors as touch, taste and smell he enclosed each particle in a transparent capsule of plastic. The results of my second experiment are more closely in accord with Fantz's.
That credit falls to Robert L. Fantz, a Western Reserve University psychologist who in the 1950s and early 1960s discovered that chimps and infants stare longer at things they perceive as unexpected.Using this basic technique, Fantz and others soon found that the infant's world was not, as pioneering psychologist William James had opined in 1890, a "blooming, buzzing confusion."For example, Fantz and others found that newborns could differentiate red from green, two-month-olds could discriminate all primary colors, and three-month-olds preferred yellow and red to blue and green.They found that a newborn could distinguish between her mother's face and a stranger's (unless both adults wore scarves over their hair), a four-month-old could recognize acquaintances, and a six-month-old could interpret facial expressions.
In the early 1960's, Dr. Robert Fantz, a developmental psychologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, who believed that babies under two years of age could see well, designed a "peep box" that surrounded a baby sitting in an infant seat.
He placed two objects directly in the baby's view: a patterned black and white checkerboard and a plain gray card. Undetected, Dr. Fantz watched the baby through a little peephole and was able to determine that babies preferred the checkerboard to the non-patterned surface. Their eyes traveled consistently to the checkerboard. Source: Fantz, R. "Maturation of Pattern Vision in Young Infants. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, Vol. 55 (1962), p. 907. Source: Fantz, R. "Maturation of Pattern Vision in Young Infants. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, Vol. 55 (1962), pp. 907-17. > At two months his eyes have matured to the point where they can function together, stereoscopically. He is able to see things at the end of his nose. You can hold visual toys 20 inches from his eyes and he'll see them clearly. > By three months he will be seeing objects within a distance of 10 feet, indicating that he now has near and far vision. Return to Top > Fixation Not only can your baby see clearly at birth, but he can fixate or maintain his gaze intently on an object. At first, baby's fixation or attention span varies from 4 to 10 seconds. When interest wanes, he closes or shifts his gaze aimlessly.
In 1961, developmental psychologist Robert Fantz published a summary of
his research on infant form perception. At the time Fantz published this work, the scientific community agreed that very young human infants could see light, color, and movement. Fantz and his colleagues set out to learn whether newborns had an innate ability to perceive certain forms, such as faces. He and his colleagues had already shown that newborn chicks had a preference for objects shaped like seeds. (Fantz had measured the pecking frequency of newly hatched chicks who were given objects of all different shapes.) With human newborns, Fantz measured how long they gazed at two-dimensional versus three-dimensional circles, high-contrast versus low-contrast designs, and organized drawings of faces versus scrambled patterns of similar shapes. Interestingly, newborns gazed longer at three-dimensional objects, high-contrast designs, and faces. Fantz deduced that human babies are hard-wired to recognize visual stimuli that are important for survival and later development. But Fantz also cited Fantz's Fantz's research a step further. The "hard wiring" that Fantz had hypothesized could be This research by Fantz, Hubel, and Wiesel matters to anyone who works with
It was Robert Fantz, an enterprising psychologist at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, who in the 1950s found that babies, just like adults, get bored when they look at the same thing over and over again, but gaze more intently when they see something that confounds their expectations or that doesn't make sense, such as when endless images of regular rabbits are followed by a four-eared variety.