Spelke E S, Breinlinger K, Jacobson K, Phillips A, 1993, "Gestalt relations and object perception: a developmental study" Perception 22(12) 1483 – 1501
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Gestalt relations and object perception: a developmental study
Elizabeth S Spelke, Karen Breinlinger, Kristen Jacobson, Ann Phillips
Received 14 January 1993, in revised form 22 May 1993
Abstract. We investigated whether adults and infants aged 3, 5, and 9 months perceive the unity and boundaries of visible objects in accord with the Gestalt relations of color and texture similarity, good continuation, or good form. Adults and infants were presented with simple but unfamiliar displays in which all three Gestalt relations specified either one object or two objects - perception of the objects was assessed by a verbal rating method in the adults and by a preferential looking method in the infants. The Gestalt relations appeared to influence the adults' perceptions strongly. However, the relations appeared to have no effect on the perceptions of 3-month-old infants and weak effects on the perceptions of 5-month-old and 9-month-old infants. The findings support the suggestion that developmental changes in object perception occur slowly. These changes, and the organizational phenomena to which Gestalt psychology called attention, may depend in part on the child's developing ability to recognize objects of particular kinds.
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