Infant perception of incongruent shapes in cast shadows

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Abstract

A cast shadow occurs when an object blocks the light from an illumination and projects a dark region onto a surface. Previous studies have reported that adults are slower to identify an object when the object has an incongruent cast shadow than when it has a congruent cast shadow (Castiello, 2001). Here, we used the familiarization-novelty preference procedure to examine whether 5- to 8-month-old infants could detect the relationship between object shapes and cast shadows. In Experiment 1, we examined the infants' ability to detect incongruency between objects and cast shadows. Results showed that 7- to 8-month-olds could detect incongruence between the object shapes and the cast shadows, whereas 5- to 6-month-olds did not. Yet, our control experiment showed that infants could not detect this incongruence from stimuli in which a white outline had been added to the original cast shadow to decrease the possibility of it being perceived as a cast shadow (Experiment 2). The results of these experiments demonstrate that 7- to 8-month-olds responded to the congruence of cast shadows and to consistent contrast polarity between the cast shadow and its background.

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Sato, K., Kanazawa, S., & Yamaguchi, M. K. (2015). Infant perception of incongruent shapes in cast shadows. I-Perception, 6(2), 91–99. https://doi.org/10.1068/i0681

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