Time course of visual attention in infant categorization of cats versus dogs: Evidence for a head bias as revealed through eye tracking

  • Quinn P
  • Doran M
  • Reiss J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Previous looking time studies have shown that infants use the heads of cat and dog images to form category representations for these animal classes. The present research used an eye-tracking procedure to determine the time course of attention to the head and whether it reflects a preexisting bias or online learning. Six- to 7-month-olds were familiarized with cats or dogs in upright or inverted orientations and then tested with a novel cat and novel dog in the same orientation. In the upright orientation, infants fixated head over body throughout familiarization; with inversion, no head preference was observed. These findings suggest that infant reliance on the head to categorize cats versus dogs results from a bias that pushes attention to the head.

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Authors

  • Paul C. Quinn

  • Matthew M. Doran

  • Jason E. Reiss

  • James E. Hoffman

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