Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Daniela M. Corbetta

Committee Members

Aaron T. Buss, Bruce J. MacLennan, Gregory D. Reynolds

Abstract

This project investigated how perceptual-motor exploration of two objects in 11-month-olds influenced subsequent selection of those objects. In study 1, seventeen 11-month-olds were presented with two objects initially out of reach to obtain eye-tracking for about 5s. Then, the objects were moved within reach to allow for 30-40s of manipulation. This procedure was repeated for up to 16 trials, including baseline, discovery, and generalization phases. In each pairing of stimulus objects, one object was filled so it would provide auditory-tactile feedback when manipulated. I predicted that if infants discovered this property, they would select that object more on subsequent trials via looking, reaching, and manipulation. I also predicted that these behaviors would be related across trials. In study 1, I found that infants discovered the auditory-tactile property by shaking/banging the filled object more than the unfilled object, but this discovery did not impact selection via other behaviors. Additionally, perception-action matching occurred within visual and manual modalities, but not between those modalities. Study 2 included eighteen 11-month-olds. The only difference from study 1 was that the unfilled object had visual details. I predicted that initially infants would look at, reach for and manipulate the unfilled/detailed object more. If they discovered the auditory-tactile property, they would subsequently select the filled object more; however, if saliency of the visual property prevailed over this motor discovery, infants would continue to select the unfilled/detailed object. Results from study 2 showed that infants looked at the unfilled/detailed object more than the filled object, but did not show any averaged group differences for reaching or manipulation. Additionally, higher proportions of perception-action matching occurred for looking variables regarding matches with the unfilled/detailed object, but higher proportions of matching occurred for reaching and manipulation variables regarding matches with the filled object. Results from both studies suggest that 11-month-olds can discover an auditory-tactile property of one object when presented with two objects, but when there is a competing visual property, the effect is overridden. Additionally, it seems that perceptual modalities are still coordinating at 11 months, as exhibited by the disconnection between visual and manual types of object exploration.

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