The Violation of Expectation experiment carried out by Baillargeon on young children was to determine whether they could perceive objects hidden from them (Baillargeon, 2004). The conclusion drawn from the experiment was that the Violation of Expectation experiment only proved effective in case when infants were familiar with the objects and perception or in case when objects were relatively new (Baillargeon, 2004). As such, the experiment tested either habituation or familiarization and not understanding of the infants. One experiment involved the hiding of a large object behind a much narrower occluded box and the second experiment involved the same hidden object but this time inside a thinner container. In both scenarios, the infants showed surprise to demonstrate that they have different expectations concerning hidden objects (Baillargeon, 2004).
A system for object representation, according to another study is the ability to perceive how many objects are present on a given space (Scott et al., 2011). 11-month-old infants can perceive individual objects but cannot determine violation when the two objects are shown one by one while the other one remains hidden. A system for physical reasoning is an abstract computational system of a formative causal frame that manifests subconsciously to enable representation and learning for infants in their interactions with physical objects (Scott et al., 2011). The system for object representation deepens our understanding of how physical reasoning develops from infancy.
Campos experiment on the visual cliff of the fear of heights was measured in pre-locomotor infants through the use of heart-rate deceleration (Higgins, Campos & Kermoian, 1996). Pre-locomotor infants were supported upright and held high up as they perceived a difference of depth there was no change in heart-beat. The conclusion was that pre-locomotor infants showed no fear. Locomotion infants upon being subjected to the same showed a marked heart-rate acceleration. This experiment pointed out that the fear of heights is related to the ability to locomote (Higgins, Campos and Kermoian, 1996).
Across all the three groups of children, the Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) for baseline periods of 30 weeks and 42 weeks showed that facial processing of emotions was similar for all three (Moulson et al., 2011). The children observed pictures of faces showing different emotions from happiness to anger and their reactions were noted and measured. The experiment showed that institutionalized children had cortical hypo-arousal (lowered brain activity) while the other two groups of children did not (Moulson et al., 2011). Children in foster care institutions showed improved brain activity demonstrating that there is room for improvement with the change of environment. Hence, the studies proved the existence of a sensitive period for facial recognition in a child's early development.
Baillargeon, R. (2004). Can 12 large clowns fit in a Mini Cooper? Or when are beliefs and reasoning explicit and conscious?. Developmental Science, 7(4), pp.422-424.
Higgins, C., Campos, J. and Kermoian, R. (1996). Effect of self-produced locomotion on infant postural compensation to optic flow. Developmental Psychology, 32(5), pp.836-841.
Moulson, M., Balas, B., Nelson, C. and Sinha, P. (2011). EEG correlates of categorical and graded face perception. Neuropsychologia, 49(14), pp.3847-3853.
Scott, R., He, Z., Baillargeon, R. and Cummins, D. (2011). False-belief understanding in 2.5- year-olds: evidence from two novel verbal spontaneous-response tasks. Developmental Science, 15(2), pp.181-193.
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