Otsuka Y, Kanazawa S, Yamaguchi M K, 2004, "The effect of support ratio on infants' perception of illusory contours" Perception 33(7) 807 – 816
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The effect of support ratio on infants' perception of illusory contours
Yumiko Otsuka, So Kanazawa, Masami K Yamaguchi
Received 1 August 2003, in revised form 23 March 2004; published online 22 July 2004
Abstract. We used a preferential looking technique to investigate the effect of support ratio (a ratio of the physically specified contours to the total edge length) on the perception of Kanizsa illusory contours in infants aged 3 - 8 months. Previous work has shown that for adult observers the illusory-contour strength increases proportionally with the support ratio. When the support ratio was relatively high (66%), infants preferred illusory contours to non-illusory figures by 3 - 4 months of age (experiment 1). In contrast, only infants 7 - 8 months old showed this preference for illusory contours when the support ratio was reduced to 37% (experiment 3). Further, infants showed no preference for an outline version of the illusory-contour figure, which produced no illusory contours (experiment 2). This result confirms that the infants' preference reflects their perception of illusory contours. Our results show that (i) illusory-contour perception emerges at around 3 - 4 months of age, but (ii) that this ability is very limited until around 7 - 8 months of age.
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