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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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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  • Paul C. Quinn

  • Matthew M. Doran

  • Jason E. Reiss

  • James E. Hoffman

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