Visual statistical learning is the process of identifying patterns of probabilistic co-occurrence among visual features, essential to our ability to perceivethe world as predictable and stable. The proposed experiments will provide the first comprehensive examination of infants'detection of complex statistical patterns in visual sequences and layouts b describing computation of probabilistic information by infants from 2 to 14 months. This is a formaive time in perceptual and cognitive development characterized by rapid developmental change in perception and learning of environmental structure. In particular, the experiments will examine how structural variability, cognitive load, and memory limitations affect learning, how contextual cues facilitate or impede this learning, and whether the products of such learning can be generalized toa different setting. In addition, the experiments will provide critical tests of domain-specificity b examining the specific contributions of spatial information to visual statistical learning. The shot-term objectives of the proposed research are to learn how developing perceptual and cognitive skills intract in early development to identify statistically defined patterns. The long-term goals are to clarifytheories of cognitive development that posit a central role for inductive learning by computing probabilitie of observations. The results of this research may have implications for understanding development in children who may be at risk for developmental disorders such as iron-deficiency anemia and autism spectrum disorders, both of which have been characterized as deficits in implicit learning. Such an understanding may lead to assessment tools more closely tailored to early diagnosis and treatment than are presently available.
Visual statistical learning is the process of identifying patterns of probabilistic co-occurrence among visual features, essential to our ability to perceive the world a predictable and stable. The proposed experiments will provide the first comprehensive examination o infants'detection of complex statistical patterns in visual sequences and layouts by describing computation of probabilistic information by infants from 2 to 14 months. This research will bring nw findings and new theoretical perspectives to longstanding debates about the origins of knowledge, ad may shed light on possible ways of examining atypical development, as when implicit learning is disrupted in infants at risk for autism or iron-deficiency anemia.
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