The human visual system can discriminate between animate beings vs. inanimate objects on the basis of some kinematic cues, such as starting from rest and speed changes by self-propulsion. The ontogenetic origin of such capability is still under debate. Here we investigate for the first time whether newborns manifest an attentional bias toward objects that abruptly change their speed along a trajectory as contrasted with objects that move at a constant speed. To this end, we systematically manipulated the motion speed of two objects. An object that moves with a constant speed was contrasted with an object that suddenly increases (Experiment 1) or with one that suddenly decreases its speed (Experiment 2). When presented with a single speed change, newborns did not show any visual preference. However, newborns preferred an object that abruptly increases and then decreases its speed (Experiment 3), but they did not show any visual preference for the reverse sequence pattern (Experiment 4). Overall, results are discussed in line with the hypothesis of the existence of attentional biases in newborns that trigger their attention towards some visual cues of motion that characterized animate perception in adults.

Newborns' sensitivity to speed changes as a building block for animacy perception / Di Giorgio, Elisa; Lunghi, Marco; Vallortigara, Giorgio; Simion, Francesca. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - ELETTRONICO. - 11:1(2021), pp. 542.1-542.10. [10.1038/s41598-020-79451-3]

Newborns' sensitivity to speed changes as a building block for animacy perception

Di Giorgio, Elisa;Vallortigara, Giorgio;Simion, Francesca
2021

Abstract

The human visual system can discriminate between animate beings vs. inanimate objects on the basis of some kinematic cues, such as starting from rest and speed changes by self-propulsion. The ontogenetic origin of such capability is still under debate. Here we investigate for the first time whether newborns manifest an attentional bias toward objects that abruptly change their speed along a trajectory as contrasted with objects that move at a constant speed. To this end, we systematically manipulated the motion speed of two objects. An object that moves with a constant speed was contrasted with an object that suddenly increases (Experiment 1) or with one that suddenly decreases its speed (Experiment 2). When presented with a single speed change, newborns did not show any visual preference. However, newborns preferred an object that abruptly increases and then decreases its speed (Experiment 3), but they did not show any visual preference for the reverse sequence pattern (Experiment 4). Overall, results are discussed in line with the hypothesis of the existence of attentional biases in newborns that trigger their attention towards some visual cues of motion that characterized animate perception in adults.
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Di Giorgio, Elisa; Lunghi, Marco; Vallortigara, Giorgio; Simion, Francesca
Newborns' sensitivity to speed changes as a building block for animacy perception / Di Giorgio, Elisa; Lunghi, Marco; Vallortigara, Giorgio; Simion, Francesca. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - ELETTRONICO. - 11:1(2021), pp. 542.1-542.10. [10.1038/s41598-020-79451-3]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/288280
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