Manipulating spatial frequency to understand global and local information processing in 7-month-old infants

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Title: Manipulating spatial frequency to understand global and local information processing in 7-month-old infants
Author: Gora, Keith Matthew
Abstract: It has been shown that infants build representations of their visual world by forming relations among its parts . However little is known about how they select the parts to relate . One possibility is that while constructing their visual world part by part they are also decomposing it , using finer and finer parts . One way to test this theory is to simply control the parts infants see . This easiest way to do this is to filter real life objects of their high and low spatial frequencies . High spatial frequencies provide information about the smaller parts where as low spatial frequencies provide information about the larger ones . By removing high or low spatial frequency we can control the coarseness of their representation and ultimately determine the level at which they function best . The present study examined infants’ ability to use high and low spatial frequencies to discriminate between objects . Infants were habituated and tested using a combination of high and low spatial frequency images . Only infants experiencing a consistent spatial frequency across habituation and test were able to discriminate between objects . Infants were also better at discriminating between objects containing high spatial frequencies . In a second study designed to be more true to life , infants were habituated to broadband images and tested using high or low spatial frequencies . This time infants did not discriminate between objects but they did look longer at low spatial frequency information than at the high . From these findings we can conclude that infants use both high and low spatial frequency information when discriminating objects , and that in certain cases one frequency may become more important than the other . The spatial frequency they use may be dependent on the context of the task . Numerous studies have shown that adults prioritize high and low spatial frequency information depending on how fast they want to process the object , the amount of detail they require , and whether they used high or low spatial frequency information during previous experiences . Infants may be similar . At times they may emphasize low spatial frequency information and the big picture . At other times they may emphasize high spatial frequency information and the detail . More studies examining how infants select information for processing are necessary and spatial frequency will likely to be an important tool in the investigation .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /6667
Date: 2009-10-23

Citation

Manipulating spatial frequency to understand global and local information processing in 7-month-old infants. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /6667 .

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